"The recent controversy about our community’s diversity initiative puts an interesting spin on a story that’s unfolding in Fond du Lac County.
It involves the Brothertown Indians, who, you may be surprised to learn, were the first permanent settlers in this area. The Brothertown Indians first became a tribe in 1769, when seven Christian- and English-speaking tribes organized and moved to land in upstate New York.
They tried to make a life there, but the encroachment of Europeans pressured them to move West. With the Oneida and Stockbridge tribes, they moved to Wisconsin, arriving by ship at the port of Green Bay in five groups, between 1831 and 1836. A total of 560 people eventually settled here.
As with many stories about Native Americans, the tale here gets complicated, with treaties agreed upon by tribes overridden by the continued demand of white settlers for land and resources.
When in 1838 the United States mandated that all Native Americans move west of the Mississippi, the Brothertown members made a stand. They owned land, had established businesses and decided they weren’t moving anymore.
The United States’ reaction to this decision was to declare that the Brothertown Indians were now U.S. citizens. This sounds like a good thing, but as so often happens when our government takes action, there was an unintended consequence. As citizens, the Brothertown were no longer considered a tribe by the U.S. government."
Get the Story:
Maggie McCullough: Overdue tribal status will validate Brothertown heritage
(The Fond du Lac Reporter 9/18)