The Menominee Clans Structure

Menominee culture developed the clan system as a means to address vital issues that the tribe faced. The origin story has as its heart the description of the process whereby the clans came into being, their order and function within the society. It articulates the creation of five Brothers or principal clans as organs through which the culture flowed and-life attained meaning. Each Brother assumed specific responsibilities within the tribal whole; the culture manifested itself through their considered actions. As each assisted the culture, in turn, it sustained them.

The Bear assumed the duties of civil administration throughout the tribe. The Eagle took as its lot war, fire carrying, and camp laborers. The Wolf pursued hunting, and the Crane construction obligations. The Moose accepted as his duty camp security, overseeing of the wild rice beds, supervising rice harvest and distribution. To some extent the Younger Brothers shared in these tasks, although most, in turn, had other specific obligations for their clan; the Sturgeon, for example, were Historians in addition to being Younger Brother to the Bear.