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For millennia, Native communities have occupied the southern region of Wisconsin the area that would become Milwaukee. In the early 17th century, Potawatomi refugees fleeing Iroquoian raiding parties in central Michigan, established settlements in the Green Bay and Milwaukee areas. As the settlements grew into large trade centers, French-Canadian explorers and traders were lured to the area known by the Potawatomi as Ménéwek or Minwaking.

Among the traders were Jacques Vieau and his Potawatomi wife Angelique Roy.  In 1818, Solomon Juneau, agent for the American Fur Company, was stationed in the area and began working for Vieau. Juneau would later marry Josette, daughter of Jacques and Angelique. It was through ties with the Vieau and Potawatomi that Juneau prospered and became the founder of Milwaukee.


Macaulay, Monica, Lindsay Marean, Laura Welcher and Kimberly Wensaut. 2014. How Our Potawatomi Language Lives: Potawatomi Dictionary

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