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Our Shared Future

Members of the Ho-Chunk Nation are pictured during a heritage marker dedication ceremony for the “Our Shared Future” plaque on Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on June 18, 2019. The “Our Shared Future” plaque makes clear that the university occupies ancestral Ho-Chunk land and will serve to educate the campus community members and campus visitors. (Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison)

The heritage marker titled “Our Shared Future,” is near the top of Bascom Hill, just to the side of South Hall. The plaque reads in full:

“The University of Wisconsin–Madison occupies ancestral Ho-Chunk land, a place their nation has called Teejop (day-JOPE) since time immemorial. In an 1832 treaty, the Ho-Chunk were forced to cede this territory. Decades of ethnic cleansing followed when both the federal and state government repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, sought to forcibly remove the Ho-Chunk from Wisconsin. This history of colonization informs our shared future of collaboration and innovation. Today, UW–Madison respects the inherent sovereignty of the Ho-Chunk Nation, along with the eleven other First Nations of Wisconsin.”

The plaque, developed in collaboration with representatives of the Ho-Chunk Nation, bears the Great Seal of the Ho-Chunk Nation and the seal of the university. Chancellor Blank said the plaque is a beginning, not an end. “No plaque or monument can ever adequately convey a difficult and complicated history,” she said. “But it can start a conversation that moves us from ignorance to awareness. So today is the beginning of an intentional effort to teach our shared history.”