Exploring Wisconsin's Native American Heritage

The art, traditions and culture of Wisconsin's 11 federally recognized Tribes make the state a remarkable destination for anyone interested in Native American history and heritage. Across the state, Wisconsin's Tribes invite visitors to tour elaborate museums, explore historic villages, attend traditional pow wows and enjoy authentic Native American cuisine. 

Museums, Exhibits & Cultural Centers

The 11 Tribes in Wisconsin have established museums, cultural centers and exhibits that tell the stories of their pasts. The Chippewa Valley Museum in Eau Claire depicts the people, places and events that shaped the Chippewa Valley and includes award-winning exhibits about the Ojibwe people. The Forest County Potawatomi Historical/Cultural Center in Crandon offers exhibits on the history of the Potawatomi, their language and traditional elements of their culture.

The Milwaukee Public Museum maintains an extensive, world-class collection depicting contemporary Native American life. Children and adults alike will appreciate the intricate and dramatic display of 37 life-size Native American figures in colorful pow wow dress accompanied by the sounds of trafitional music. Other exhibits celebrate the resiliance of Native American culture and examine its history from past to present.

Cultural Celebrations - Pow Wows

Wisconsin's Native American tribes regularly hold pow wows to honor traditions and celebrate their culture. Events like the Hunting Moon Pow Wow, held annually in Milwaukee, feature music, drumming and dancing at the heart of the gathering, as well as traditional art and Native American foods. The public is invited to attend and witness the pageantry and power of the Grand Entry and competitive dancing, performed by dancers in full dress and regalia.

The Lac Courte Orielles Ojibwe Nation hosts the annual Honor the Earth Pow Wow in Hayward, and the Oneida Pow Wow is held each year during the Fourth of July weekend. Visitors can try traditional Native American foods, purchase handmade arts and crafts and watch a spectacular Grand Entry, as more hundreds of dancers arrive on the pow wow grounds. Every Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend, the Ho-Chunk Nation hosts bi-annual pow wows in Black River Falls with Native American food, music and dancing.

Native American-Owned Businesses

In addition to sharing their traditions, Wisconsin's federally recognized Tribes offer top-notch businesses throughout the state. From iconic casinos such as the Potawatomi and Legendary Waters to the first Native American-owned distillery in the U.S., add a unique Native-Owned business to your next Wisconsin getaway. Explore more businesses here!

Frog Bay Tribal National Park

Take a trip to Frog Bay on the Bayfield Peninsula to experience the United States’ first ever tribal national park. Located within the Red Cliff Reservation at the northern tip of Wisconsin, you and your group will marvel at the pristine shoreline along Lake Superior, lush forest, a view of five of the Apostle Islands and much more.

Ready to learn more about Wisconsin's earliest residents? Check out these effigy mounds throughout the state.

This entry was posted in Things to Do Arts and Culture Native Culture