There is great diversity in the cultures, languages, histories, and governmental structures of the 11 American Indian nations and 1 non-federally recognized nation of Wisconsin. There is no singular “American Indian.”
American Indian nations possess inherent sovereignty. Tribal sovereignty is the basis for self-government and the ongoing government-to-government relationship that federally recognized tribes have with the federal government of the United States. Tribal governments are separate and independent from local, state, and federal governments, and similarly, their sovereignty is not absolute.
There is great diversity among individual American Indians, as with any other population. Unique legal standards regarding tribal citizenship and levels of engagement with traditional ways are key factors shaping contemporary American Indian identity. As many contemporary American Indian families are also intertribal, multiracial, and/or multicultural, there is no singular “American Indian” identity.
American Indian cultures remain vital and dynamic. Despite significant losses
due to the ongoing impact of assimilation colonialism, traditional teachings continue to inform how individuals live their lives and how nations govern themselves and serve their people. Wisconsin hosts six Native languages in three language families — Algonquian (Menominee, Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Munsee); Siouan (Ho-Chunk); and Iroquoian (Oneida).
American Indian history ranges from oral traditions representing teachings that may be thousands of years old to contemporary accounts that also incorporate documentary sources. Oral histories continue to inform contemporary understandings and are afforded great respect in the tribal world. American Indian history is an integral part of Wisconsin and United States history.
These first steps identify the essential resources for addressing each of the five Essential Understandings. Additional support is available from American Indian Curriculum Services. Please contact Aaron Bird Bear at 608/262-8427 or email@example.com.