District administrators and officials were joined by Ho-Chunk elders and leaders of federally recognized indigenous tribes for a land acknowledgment ceremony Monday, April 25. This historic ceremony honored the land now known as Madison as well as the original inhabitants, the Ho-Chunk people, for whom this area was known as Teejop, or Four Lakes.
The student-led initiative included leaders from all Wisconsin tribes. Marena Fox Baker and Isa Saiz, student leaders of Native American Student Associations at East and West high schools, led the charge to have plaques installed at Madison schools to acknowledge the Ho-Chunk people as the area’s original inhabitants and to better incorporate Indigenous history into the district’s curriculum.
The Land Acknowledgement ceremony is the first to be held by a public school district in Wisconsin. The ceremony included speakers from the Ho-Chunk Nation and other officials, the exchange of gifts, drums, and the presentation of a plaque to be installed at MMSD schools.
Watch the ceremony: