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Joseph McKwen LaMere (1887 - 1950)

Joseph McKwen LaMere
Born in Nebraska, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died at about age 62 in Winnebago, Thurston, Nebraska, United Statesmap [uncertain]
Profile last modified | Created 13 Sep 2019
This page has been accessed 313 times.
Joseph was Ho-Chunk.



“[Oliver LaMere] had three sons, Moses, Joseph and Frank, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth was the mother of Angel Decora. Frank Lamere went to Nebraska with the tribe. He had five sons, Oliver, Joseph, Charles, John and Peter.” (Jipson, 256-257)

The LaMeres were members of the Hočąk (Winnebago) Bear Clan.

The 1930 Federal Census gives Joseph's exact birth date. Oliver LaMere, Joseph's older brother, was a translator and collaborator of Paul Radin, and both Joseph and his wife made contributions to his work. His wife, whose name is not known at present, was alive in 1911, but had died by 1920, where the census of that year shows that Joseph was a widower.

He is buried in the Winnebago Cemetery, Winnebago, Thurston County, Nebraska, USA. (Find a Grave)


The abode of the aforementioned Joseph A. Lamère lies halfway between the Winnebago Reservation and Pender, the chief town of the Thurston district of the state of Nebraska. Almost all Winnebago Indians were in the habit of making their way from the reservation to Pender to the place of Mr. Lamère, and the latter, on those occasions, had heard the history of these [war] bundles hundreds of times from the lips of the elder Indians. (Lenders, 404)

Curriculum Vitæ

1895 — contributed a narrative on the Medicine Rite to Fletcher & La Flesche.

1908 — narrator of the story of the Thunderbird Warbundle. Radin's introduction says, "[This story was] told to me by Mr. Joseph Lamere, of the Winnebago tribe, in the summer of 1908. [It was] supposed to explain the origin and significance of a sacred bundle, formerly the property of one of the clans, now in the possession of Mr. Lamere. ... I could not obtain at the time the name of the clan to which the bundle had belonged; but, to judge from the narrative, I presume it belongs to the Wakąja or Thunder-Bird Clan."

1908 — narrator of the story, "The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds." (Radin, "Winnebago Tales" 300-302)

1908 — narrator of the first version of the Wolf Clan origin myth. (Radin, Winnebago Tribe, 238-239)

1909 — Lenders (404) says that he gave an "... exact account of the origin of the "wah-ru-hap-ah-rah," or the sacred warbundle, which has the quality of making the Indians, especially the Winnebago, strong and powerful in warfare. This was extensively related and explained on various occasions by Joseph A. Lamère at Winnebago, Neb., U. S. A., in August and September, 1909."


  • Norton William Jipson, Story of the Winnebagoes (Chicago: The Chicago Historical Society, 1923). This is an unpublished typescript.
  • Joseph LaMère, "Notes on the Winnebago Medicine Lodge," in Papers of Alice Fletcher & Frances La Flesche, MS 4558: Research of Alice Fletcher & Frances La Flesche, Series 26 & 27: Other Tribes, 1882-1922 [26], Box 31 (Washington, D. C.: National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution, March, 1895).
  • Emil William Lenders (1864-1934), "Mythe des „Wah-ru-hap-ah-rah“ oder des heiligen Kriegskeulenbündels" ["The Myth of the 'Wah-ru-hap-ah-rah,' or the Sacred Warclub Bundle"], Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 46 (1914): 404-420. Told in Aug. - Sept., 1909 by Joseph A. LaMère, Bear Clan, to Emil William Lenders, a noted German-American artist of Philadelphia. Stable URL —
  • Paul Radin, "Winnebago Tales," Journal of American Folklore, 22 (1909):
  • Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1923). Stable URL —
  • 1920 Federal Census, Winnebago, Thurston County, Nebraska, District 0217, Dwellng #103.
  • Find a Grave, Memorial ID: 66562967.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Joseph by comparing test results with other carriers of his ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with Joseph:

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Categories: Ho-Chunk