Native American Roots

Unique Unites

Long before European settlers set foot on the shores of Lake Michigan, Native American tribes called Milwaukee home. In fact, the name "Milwaukee" is derived from an Algonquian word Millioke, meaning “good land,” and from a Potawatomi word Minwaking meaning “gathering place by the waters.” Today, members of various tribes still call Milwaukee home.

Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center 
The Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center (GLIIHC) provides comprehensive and culturally sensitive health care for the whole family. It's their mission to improve the health, peace and well-being of urban Idians in the Greater Milwaukee Area. 

Indian Community School
Celebrating over 50 years serving the Greater Milwaukee area, Indian Community School serves more than 360 intertribal Native American students. ICS is led by its mission to “cultivate an enduring cultural identity and critical thinking by weaving indigenous teachings with a distinguished learning environment.”
Milwaukee Public Museum: A Tribute to Survival
On the Milwaukee Public Museum’s second floor is “A Tribute to Survival,” an exhibit allowing guests to journey to traditional and contemporary Native American life. A focal point of the exhibit is the recreation of a pow-wow that occurred in Milwaukee featuring 37 life-sized figures dancing in a wooded circle.
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
Located in the Menomonee River Valley where the Potawatomi tribe originally settled, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino stands as both a testament to the city’s origins and a cultural institution that regularly pays homage to and features Native American cultures.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee American Indian Student Center
In addition to offering assistance and support services to Native American students, UWM’s American Indian Student Center offers cultural enrichment programming throughout the year.
Wgema Campus
The former home of Concordia College is now the Forest County Potawatomi Community’s Wgema Campus. Potawatomi Business Development Corporation, Forest County Potawatomi, All Nations Senior & Cultural Center, and others already inhabit the historic location with further redevelopments underway.

Explore Powered by the People


Powered by the People

Explore City of Festivals


City of Festivals

There are so many ways to support Milwaukee's Native American community every day:

  • The Native American Tourism of Wisconsin (NATOW) is the state’s authority on informative and respectful exploration of the 11 native Wisconsin tribes. Begin your cultural immersion with NATOW resources such as crafted itineraries and spotlights on Native American businesses and cultural attractions.

  • Hunting Moon Pow-Pow is a three-day celebration of Native American culture with dancing, drumming, singing, and even some friendly competition. The pow-pow typically takes place in October.

  • Milwaukee’s Indian Council of the Elderly provides nutrition and social services primarily to Native American elders and seniors. Consider donating resources from time to monetary contributions in support of this great cause.

  • In honor of Native American Heritage Month, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino normally provides a five-course dinner at Dream Dance Steakhouse restaurant in addition to providing recipes for classic Native American dishes.

  • Potawatomi Hotel & Casino also partners with the Milwaukee Art Museum to offer the museum’s special Friendsgiving edition of its MAM After Dark event series. Taking place just before the Thanksgiving holiday, Friendsgiving offers comfort food and live music in honor of Native American Heritage Month.

  • ​During Native American Heritage Month, Milwaukee Film honors the culture and traditions with a film series. Milwaukee Film has voiced its dedication to providing a platform for indigenous stories. 
  • Listen to stories told in three indigenous languages inspired by Black Box Fund's swallow sculpture activation created by Cracking Art.
  • In partnership with Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, the Milwaukee Public Museum offers free admission to Wisconsin tribal members as well as special programming in honor of Native American Heritage Month.