Winnebago People

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Winnebago People

Origin and History

The Winnebago people (literally “people of the dirty waters”) are a Siouan-speaking group of Native Americans. They inhabited the Door Peninsula and the eastern shores of Green Bay on Lake Michigan, reaching beyond Lake Winnebago to the Wisconsin River and to the Rock River in Illinois.

In 1634, the French had first contacts with the Winnebago people, whom they called the “Puants” (stinkards). At that time, their population ranged between 8,000 and 20,000.

The influx of Algonquian tribes, which had been driven out of their traditional territories by the Iroquois Confederacy and were migrating westwards, forced the Winnebago to concentrate in the southern part of their former territory. The ensuing conflicts, coupled with epidemics, almost annihilated the Winnebago, their population dwindling to only some 500.

During the French and Indian Wars (1689-1763), a few bands of Winnebago fought alongside the French.

By 1736, the Winnebago people numbered some 700.

During the War of the American Independence, the Winnebago people sided with Great Britain. After the war, they took part in other rebellions against the government of the United States and in the War of 1812.

In the 19th century, the Winnebago people were gradually displaced, first to present-day Iowa, then Minnesota, South Dakota and finally Nebraska. Some bands managed to return to Wisconsin.

Role during the War

By July 20, 1757, 44 Winnebago warriors formed part of Marin's Brigade during the French expedition against Fort William Henry.

In 1758, a party of Winnebago warriors assisted the French. That winter, when they returned to their villages, they brought back disease with them.


We have been unable to find characteristics about the dress of this Native American people that would distinguish them from other peoples. If you can suggest sources documenting such characteristics, please do not hesitate to contact us with your suggestions.


Sulzman, Lee: Winnebago History

Waldman, Carl: Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes, Revised Edition, pp. 263-264

Wikipedia – Ho-Chunk

N.B.: the section Role during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.