Menominee - Orientation

Identification. The name of this American Indian group, "Menominee," derives from the Chippewa mano mini, meaning "wild rice people."

Location. In the seventeenth century the Menominee inhabited the region bounded by Green Bay, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior. Since the mid-nineteenth century they have occupied a reservation on the Wolf River in northEastern Wisconsin. The region is dominated by northern hardwood forests, mixed with spruce forests north of the Menominee River. Annual precipitation averages about thirty inches per year. Temperatures may reach as high as 90° F in the summer and dip as low as —30° F in the winter.

Demography. The first estimates of the Menominee Population are late and postdate a long decline following exposure to European disease. In 1820 the Menominee numbered 3,900. In 1834, following a smallpox epidemic, the population dropped to 2,500. By 1915 the population was increasing because of a declining death rate and the addition to the tribal rolls of mixed-bloods and persons married to Menominee. The Menominee numbered 2,917 in 1956 and about 2,700 in the late 1970s.

Linguistic Affiliation. Menominee is an Algonkian Language. It has been classified as a member of the Central Algonkian subgroup, but is not closely related to any other distinct language in the subgroup.

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