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"The Good Cheer That was Offered Us”: Contributions of Native and Métis Women in the Nineteenth Century Fox River Valley

  • Harrington Hall, Room 217 845 Elmwood Avenue Oshkosh, WI, 54901 United States (map)

Hosted By: Robert Ritzenthaler Archaeological Society

Location: Harrington Hall, Room 217

Speaker: Stephanie May, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Anthropology, Global Religions and Culture

Abstract: This ethnohistorical presentation looks at narrative fragments through the lenses of Cultural Anthropology to better understand the contributions of Native and Métis women in the nineteenth century Fox River Valley. Piecing together stories and snippets from Oshkosh, Neenah, Butte des Morts, Green Bay, and Kaukauna shows how women helped their families survive substantial change as the economy shifted from the fur trade to the timber industry. Women’s hospitality initiated reciprocal relationships that would hold social, economic, and political significance. Through marriage, women helped create complex, and ethnically diverse families that would provide social ties, access to resources, and alternative livelihoods to help individuals prosper in a new economy. Applying anthropological models of marriage and kinship challenges ethnocentric assumptions about these practices and suggests ways to reinterpret their meanings.