Photo gallery Artists bring Ho-Chunk beadwork, imagery to giant banners on Bascom Hall
At a special ceremony held Tuesday, Nov. 7, the campus community and invited guests celebrated the installation of Ho-Chunk banners on Bascom Hall, commissioned as part of the University of Wisconsin’s 175th anniversary. The university occupies land that was the ancestral home of the Ho-Chunk.
The banners, designed in collaboration by UW–Madison doctoral student Molli Pauliot and faculty members Marianne Fairbanks and Stephen Hilyard, are part of the Our Shared Future initiative, the university’s commitment to respect the inherent sovereignty of the Ho-Chunk Nation. The banners will remain up through November and then return during the spring semester as part of a regular rotation of themed banners.
The Lake Delton Singers provided the drum for the ceremony. They played and sang as a crowd gathered on Bascom Hill.
Paul Cloud offered a prayer to begin the ceremony.
Carla Vigue, director of tribal relations for UW–Madison, emceed the event.
“What you see behind you is more than just a mural, more than just banners. It speaks volumes to our history, our clan system, our culture," said Ho-Chunk Nation President Jon Greendeer. “I cannot express enough appreciation for Molli and what she’s done. I have no idea what kind of work went into putting something like this together, but I will tell you that by looking at this and seeing our clans represented, seeing the art and that every symbolism in there is deliberate and means something — I’m so happy to see something like this.”
Members of the Ho-Chunk and campus communities gathered for the ceremony.
In her remarks, Chancellor Mnookin said, “We still, I know, have a lot of work to do before every person feels that this university is ‘for’ them — before they can necessarily see themselves here and can thrive here. It will take each of these seeds — and many more — to help us grow a stronger future together. And I am committed to working in partnership to doing that.”
While Pauliot addressed the crowd, her daughter Julia White and grandson Azias Pauliot listened to her message about the meaning of Our Shared Future.
As she stood alongside Fairbanks and Hilyard, Pauliot remarked, “Our Shared Future is a process, not a land acknowledgement or something to recite. It is a collective act of moving together from ignorance to awareness; an educational framework for posing questions; and an opportunity to celebrate Ho-Chunk people, as well as learn about the hard truths of our histories with them. It is a challenge to educate ourselves and each other, and create a better future together. The Ho-Chunk Banner design for the 175th anniversary is an example of the university’s commitment and opportunity to learn more about the Ho-Chunk people.”
JoAnn Jones, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, retired judge and UW–Madison alumn, spoke of the meaning of Our Shared Future. “My hope for this university," she said, "Is the shared vision that you speak about. And that the future of this institution is that it stands for all citizens — all the citizens of the state and all the Indian nations.”
As the ceremony drew to a close, Pauliot, Fairbanks and Hilyard stood alongside Mnookin. Draped around their shoulders, they wore wool blankets given to them on behalf of UW–Madison in thanks for their service in the creation of the banners.