Potawatomi

The name Muskego is derived from the Potawatomi Indian name for the area who named it "Mus-kee-Guaac," meaning sunfish.

The Potawatomi were the original inhabitants of Muskego and they enjoyed an abundance of wild rice, water fowl, fish and muskrats. They lived in villages of birch covered houses and dome shaped wigwams.

In 1833, the Potawatomi ceded their lands in Wisconsin to the U.S. government. Despite being relocated by the federal government in 1850, the Potawatomi continued to return to hunt and fish in and around Muskego's lakes until the 1870s.

In 1916, human remains representing one individual were removed from the Camp Thomas Cemetery Site on the Ralph Holtz Farm in Muskego by Rudolph Boettger. Mr. Boettger sold the human remains and two associated funerary objects to the Milwaukee Public Museum in 1922. He donated an additional associated funerary object to the museum in 1947. No known individual was identified. The three associated funerary objects are a small copper alloy bucket, a small wooden bowl with projecting animal effigy tab, and an iron knife blade. The associated funerary objects date this burial to circa 1800. The date is consistent with historical evidence for Potawatomi occupation of the area.

     

The Camp Thomas Cemetery Site is a known Potawatomi cemetery and camp utilized until the 1870s. In 1892 a buried Potawatomi dugout canoe was found buried on the Caesar farm on Muskego Dam Road. It was given to the Milwaukee Public Museum and is now in the care of the Muskego Historical Society.