Metoxen grew up on the Oneida Reservation and after a 16-year stint
in the military, came back and threw herself fully into the politics
and history of the tribe.
the years, she has helped uncover stories about the tribe and its
extensive history in the state.
it's her many children, 27 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren
and the beauty of the reservation that has kept her on the reservation.
walked most of the reservation from one end to the other,"
she said. "The reservation itself is beautiful."
16 years in the U.S. Air Force, Metoxen and her husband decided
they wanted to live and raise their children close to her family
mainly determined that they needed to know their family," she
said about her children. "I grew up on a farm and my family
kept the farm - for nearly 55 years."
family's farm was a stage coach stopping point between Oneida and
the Chicago Corners area. Walkers and riders often stopped at the
house for a break and a warm drink, so the family got to know most
people in the area.
was really convenient to stop at our place, so I got to know everybody,"
people turned into a built-in support system for Metoxen and her
family as they built their life here.
started working at the Oneida Cultural Center in 1996. She was first
elected to a tribal position in 1967. "And I stayed involved
with tribal politics for the next 29 years," she said.
many other things, the cultural center tracks the tribe's movement
from New York in 1863 to its current band of 15,000 in Wisconsin.
The tribe was removed from the state so the government could build
the Erie Canal and other structures, Metoxen said.
members of the tribe arrived in Oneida over the span of 20 years,
they built a settlement and prospered. White pine trees were used
to build structures and fields were cleared for farming.
did well when they arrived," she said.
Dawes Allotment Act took that away in 1887 by sectioning off tribal
land for individuals instead of the tribe as a whole. "They
lost all their land by 1929," the year the Great Depression
started. The tribe lost its strength as a group for many years afterward,
was in poor circumstances, but the Oneidas were worse off than most,"
men and women enlisted in the military and eventually ended up in
major cities where work programs were available. Eventually, another
government program would strengthen the tribe back in Wisconsin.
Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs helped tribes organize again
and other programs helped with housing.
think that's when we got our big boost in terms of organization,"
she said. Relatives reconnected and started researching their ancestry
back in Oneida. The funds from establishing a casino in 1988 helped