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John Kužigiwega Winneshiek (1841 - 1931)

John Kužigiwega Winneshiek
Born in Iowa, Michigan Territory, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
[spouse(s) unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died at about age 90 in Wisconsin, United Statesmap
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Profile last modified | Created 21 Oct 2019
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John was Ho-Chunk.




“John Winneshiek's Indian name is Ko-sho-gi-way-ka, meaning 'One that goes low' ...” (Jipson, 222) This appears to be a highly distorted version of Kužigiwega, from kuží, "to be low, to be low down"; giwe, "to travel"; and -ga, a definite article suffix used in personal names. "One Who Travels Low" probably refers to the swoop of a raptorial bird as is appropriate for a member of the Thunderbird Clan.


In 1924 Jipson (222) said that he was 74 years old, making his birth year 1850. The 1930 census puts his age at 97 years, implying a birth date of 1835. However, the 1905 and 1911 censuses imply a birth date of 1841. The 1905 census says that he is the son of Ben Winneshiek, but it also says as much of Little Winneshiek who is also known to be the son of Coming Thunder. Ben was born in 1829, which would have meant that he was 12 years old when he supposedly fathered John.

Life and Character

No-gin-kah (Little Winneshiek) says, "John Winneshiek and I are the only sons of Chief Winneshiek living [as of 1913] and his other descendants produced by our deceased brothers and sisters diverge into a very large family." (Hexom, 47)

"John Winneshiek now [1924] lives on a small farm near Black River Falls, Wisconsin. He has the reputation of being a very kind hearted and upright man and has embraced the Christian religion." (Jipson, 222)


Waggoner (47, nt. 94) says, "Hounka was likely Coming Thunder Winneshiek’s brother, not son. Winneshiek’s father, who died in 1848, was Chief Mawaragah Winneshiek. He had four sons, only two of whom were well known: Coming Thunder, the eldest, and Short Wing. His other sons were probably Hounka or “Hoon kaw” and Ben Winneshiek. Coming Thunder in turn had three sons whose English names were John, George, and Little Winneshiek. Hughes thought that George might have been Hounka, but I disagree, because he was too young. The 1857 annuity rolls (101) show the following consecutive heads of family: Nau he Kaw [or fourth-born son, probably Ben Winneshiek]; Winnoshik [Coming Thunder]; Hoon Kaw; Wau sho pe we kaw [Coming Thunder’s mother]. Hau kaw kaw [or third-born son, who was probably “Ha-ya-ka-kay,” brother of “Hoon kaw,” otherwise known as Short Wing."


John Winneshiek's death was recorded as being on July 18, 1931 at the age of 90 from the "infirmities of old age." (Deaths, 1931)


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Categories: Ho-Chunk