Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

History and Philosophy

Committee Member

John G. McCurdy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mary-Elizabeth Murphy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Richard Nation, Ph.D.


As the War of 1812 drew to a stalemate, the American government began the process of state formation in the "Old Northwest," which put political, economic, and cultural pressures on the indigenous population. Among the Anishinaabeg, Menominee, Ho-Chunk, and other Native inhabitants, however, were fifty-three communities of mixed ancestry produced by the fur trade: the Great Lakes Metis. This project looks at the ways the Metis of Green Bay adapted to the pressures of settler colonialism through the nineteenth century. In particular, it uses the diaries of a French-Menominee woman named Mary Hobart Williams to identify examples of "survivance, "or the continued presence of indigenous peoples on the land in ways that defy cliched formulas. Williams remained stable and solvent on her own land until her death in the 1880s. She did this by adapting her labor, adding to her kinship network, and using literacy to control her world.