Activity: The Novitiate Takeover

This activity supports Disciplinary Literacy in Social Studies — How Do We Know? — Evaluating Sources, Close Reading, and Corroboration.

Grade level: Appropriate for grades 4-12 with teacher modifications.

Duration: One class period.


Background: In 1975, a group known as the Menominee Warrior Society took over the Alexian Brothers’ former Novitiate near Gresham, Wisconsin in Shawano County, claiming treaty rights to the property. Various groups responded in different ways to this event, including local citizens, the national media, the Menominee Nation of Wisconsin, and the Menominee Warrior Society dissident faction.

1)   Have students read and review the multiple primary sources, including newspaper articles and newsletters, which take on this event from different points of view.

Primary sources available through Recollection Wisconsin include:

Secondary sources available elsewhere include:

2)   Students should evaluate these sources by considering the questions listed above. Is one source the “best”? Or are they all significant in understanding the issue?

Aq-ua-chamine (Menominee Talking), Menominee Restoration Committee Newsletter, January 19, 1975. College of Menominee Nation S. Verna Fowler Academic Library/Menominee Public Library.

Aq-ua-chamine (Menominee Talking), Menominee Restoration Committee Newsletter, January 19, 1975. College of Menominee Nation S. Verna Fowler Academic Library/Menominee Public Library.