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Chief Oshkosh (also spelled Os-kosh or Oskosh) (1795 - August 29, 1858) was the chief of the Menominee Indian tribe from 1827 until his death. He played a key role in treaty negotiations as the Menominee tribe tried to protect their lands in Wisconsinmarker from the resettling New Yorkmarker Indians and the American pioneers. Oshkosh, Wisconsinmarker is named after him.

Early life

Chief Oshkosh ("Claw") (cf. Ojibwe oshkanzh, "the claw"). was born in 1795 near Nekoosamarker (Point Bas) on the Wisconsin River. Near the age of 15, he was placed under the guidance of Tomah, by his grandfather, the Head Chief. After Tomah and his grandfather passed away, Oshkosh became the Head Chief in 1827. As a young man he fought on the side of the Britishmarker during the War of 1812. However, he sided with the Americans during the Black Hawk War of 1832.


In the 1836 Treaty of the Cedars, Oshkosh and the Menominee sold 4.2 million acres (including all of their lands in Upper Peninsula of Michiganmarker) for $620,000. Later, in the 1848 Treaty of Lake Poygan, Oshkosh and the Menominee sold their remaining lands in Wisconsinmarker to the United Statesmarker. In exchange, the government offered them about along the Crow Wing River in Minnesotamarker.

Oshkosh was supposed to lead his tribe to Crow Wing River, but he and other tribal leaders claimed that they had signed the 1848 treaty under pressure. In 1852, the Menominee were allowed to stay on a temporary reservation on the Wolf River in northeastern Wisconsinmarker. Later, the 1854 Wolf River Treaty made this reservation permanent.

Later life

Oshkosh was known to be an alcoholic in his later life. Shortly before his death, he weighed over 400 pounds. Oshkosh died in Keshena, Wisconsinmarker, in a drunken brawl on August 29, 1858.

In 1926 his remains were moved to Menominee Park in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. His final resting place is at the foot of a monument dedicated to him, covered with an inscribed granite slab.


  1. Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin History Chief Oshkosh
  2. Chief Oshkosh - Wisconsin Historical Society
  3. Menominee
  4. Menominee Culture - Indian Country Wisconsin

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