Gallery view of the hand-carved Menominee Clans Story figures

Menominee Clans Story

Temporarily Closed

The Menominee Clans Story exhibition shares the heritage and complex systems of this Native American Nation through the superbly carved figures by Menominee traditional artist James Frechette Jr., Na:tamowekow (He Helps Someone, People) (1930-2006).

Known to the Menominee people as “The Little Menominee,” these intricately carved and painted figures stand between twelve and twenty inches high. Through an indigenous art form, Mr. Frechette faithfully captured the cultural dimensions of the ancient clan system depicting dress, symbols, tools, colors, traditions, and many details of the Menominee way of life.

The Menominee Nation has five Principal Clans, each symbolized by an animal. Each Clan has a primary obligation to the people and culture. For example, Chief Oshkosh (translation literally "His Claw") was of the Bear Clan, known as Speakers and Peacekeepers. Each Clan has Younger Brothers, also represented by an animal, and each is charged with sustaining an element of the culture and the individual. Together the Clans collectively counseled the people and ensured their wellbeing. To the Menominee, the Clans figures are sacred beings that are alive and able to see and feel.

The Menominee Clans Story exhibition spans across generations, and connects Native and Non-Native cultures.

Artist with statue of the Great Silvery White Bear.

Second Floor 

Included with General Admission

Hand-carved Menominee Clans Story figures
Child inspecting artifacts in People of the Waters

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