Project Preface

A Primary Source Digital Reader, edited by Benjamin Fenelon & Maxwell Gray

We remember that Milwaukee is covered by the 1833 Treaty of Chicago signed by the United States & Potawatomi & acknowledge it cleaved & dispersed this tribal nation through removal.”

This digital reader tries to help us remember this history. It collects digital primary sources about the treaty from the Wisconsin Historical Society, the University of Wisconsin Digitized Collections, the University of Oklahoma Libraries, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, & the Hathi Trust Digital Library, among others.

The premise of the project is simple: develop a user-friendly, open-access digital reader of primary sources about the treaty & its aftermaths, including the city of Milwaukee’s early white settler history, for readers to learn about the treaty, its histories of white settler colonialism, & Native American Indian removal & return in the region. It doesn’t include every possible primary source, but it tries to curate a representative collection of the primary sources discussed in the secondary source scholarship about the treaty & that’re accessible at digital library collections & archives.

This digital reader is organized in four parts. The first part includes documents & records from the treaty negotiations themselves. The second includes narratives of the treaty negotiations in Chicago from travelers & participants. The third focuses on the city of Milwaukee’s early white settler history. Finally, the fourth part includes documents & narratives of Native American Indian removal & return in the aftermaths of the treaty. Introductory chapters include historical maps & the treaty itself, & a concluding chapter includes some secondary sources about the treaty.

The primary sources included in this digital reader represent two kinds of documents & narratives. The first are contemporary historical documents & accounts, like federal government documents & records, contemporary eyewitness narratives, & contemporary publications; they’re found in all parts of this digital reader, but especially in parts one, two & four. The second are late-nineteenth-century eyewitness memoirs & both amateur & professional history writing, like autobiographical narratives, hearsay reports, & white settler (often ideological & propagandistic) historical accounts; they’re found primarily in parts two & three of this digital reader, especially in part three.

The texts of individual chapters are unedited from their primary source texts, texts that were often composed by white settlers for white settlers. So they include some original words & phrases that are offensive & disrespectful, as well as contemporary historical concepts & thoughts that were often—& can indeed remain—misleading, neglectful & harmful. (In exception to this rule, forms of the word sq*** are placed under erasure.) Individual chapters’ texts also include unedited spellings of proper nouns from the primary source texts, including original spellings of Indigenous names & places.

Individual chapters are introduced by short contextual notes from the editors in shadowed textboxes, & often include other short notes in the same shadowed textboxes to help readers make connections across different parts of the digital reader. (These short notes use the spellings of First Nations tribes preferred by the tribes themselves.) Individual chapters also often include hyperlinks to other online resources where readers can learn more about the chapter’s historical context. They also often include historical images related to the chapter’s subject matter. Complete citations of individual primary sources can be found at the end of each chapter.

Benjamin Fenelon was born & raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He lives in the Washington Heights neighborhood of the city. His ancestors are from Ireland & Germany by way of Iowa & Wisconsin. He is an undergraduate student in computer science at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Maxwell Gray was born & raised in the state of Connecticut. He lives in the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee, & divides his time between Milwaukee & Madison, Wisconsin. His ancestors are from Britain & Italy by way of the Great Plains, Midwest & New York. He is a digital scholarship librarian in Raynor Memorial Libraries at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

At Marquette University in Milwaukee, Ayo Ibiyemi, Samantha Majhor, Bryan Rindfleisch, & Jacqueline Schram of the Indigeneity Lab on campus helped discuss the project with us before its publication, & shared encouraging & productive ideas with us for final edits & revisions. Samantha Majhor was responsible for the citation of the 1833 Treaty of Chicago being included in the university land acknowledgement that is the origin of this project.

The project is developed using the open-source application Pressbooks, & is supported by the Digital Scholarship Lab at Raynor Memorial Libraries.