EXPLORER JONATHAN CARVER MEETS FEMALE HO-CHUNK CHIEF HO-POE-KAW
Ho-poe-kaw, whose Ho-Chunk name meant “Glory of the Morning,” grew up on Doty Island (current Menasha, Wisconsin). The 1st woman mentioned in Wisconsin history, she became chief around 1727, at age 18. When the French were harassed by the Meskwaki Indians, Ho-poe-kaw got the Ho-Chunk to side with the French. In 1728, she married a French officer named Descaris who soon left for Montreal with their only daughter. In 1766, English explorer Jonathan Carver met Ho-poe-kaw while seeking the Northwest Passage, writing: “She was a very ancient woman, small in stature, . . . [H]er attendants seemed greatly pleased whenever I showed any tokens of respect to their queen, particularly when I saluted her . . . .” She never reunited with her daughter who remained in Montreal. Her sons, who took the name Dekorah, succeeded her as chiefs near Portage, later named Dekorra. One son signed the first peace treaty with the U.S. in 1816, shortly before he died.
Source: Ho-poe-kaw (Glory of the Morning), Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 7/14/2019, https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Article/CS517 Lithograph: Seth Eastman (1808-1875), 1851. Public Domain in U.S.: Pre 1/1/1925. Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less.