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 Winnebago (people), Native American tribe of Siouan language family. Although Winnebago traditional culture has religious and social traits resembling those of the Siouan-speaking tribes of the Great Plains, the tribe's economy and daily life were those of the Eastern Woodlands hunters and trappers. In the early 17th century the Winnebago lived in eastern Wisconsin surrounded by Algonquian-speaking tribes. Following the fur trade, they subsequently occupied much of southwestern Wisconsin and part of northeastern Illinois. They ceded their lands to the United States in several early 19th-century treaties and were moved from one reservation to another before finally being given part of the Omaha reservation in Nebraska. Some resisted removal and after 1875 were allowed to stay in Wisconsin. In 1990 the total number of Winnebago descendants numbered 6920, of whom 1207 lived in Nebraska and 2732 in Wisconsin. They work at many different occupations. Adherence to traditional language and culture is particularly strong in Wisconsin. Some follow the old religion; others are evangelical Protestants or belong to the Native American Church.

Like many other tribes, the Winnebago's name is not what they called themselves. It comes from a Fox word "Ouinipegouek" meaning "people of the stinking water." No insult was intended. Instead, the name referred to algae-rich waters of the Fox River and Lake Winnebago where the Winnebago originally lived. The French translated this as "stinking people" and shortened it to Puan. In its English form, it became Stinkard. For obvious reasons, the Winnebago have never been overly fond of this name. They call themselves Hochungra (Hochungara, Hotcangara, Ochangra) "people of the big speech" - perhaps better rendered as "people of the parent speech" referring to their role as "grandfathers," the original people from which other Siouan-speaking tribes sprang. Dissatisfied with their Algonquin name, the Wisconsin Winnebago recently changed their official name to Hocak Nation (pronounced Hochunk).