Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

UWSP Establishes Native American Commission

By UW-Stevens Point, University Communications and Marketing

A group of campus, Tribal and community members will continue working together to acknowledge Native burial grounds on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus and expand the educational opportunities for Native students, families and communities.

Chancellor Thomas Gibson has established the Chancellor’s Commission on the Ancestors Buried Below Us to coordinate efforts, leverage university resources, and ensure timely progress and momentum.

“I have invited the leaders of the Tribal Nations to provide input, feedback and counsel to our efforts to recognize and honor their ancestors, such as creating a permanent memorial, and on other initiatives,” said Gibson. “I believe this is a critical next step in our process to create sustainable and beneficial partnerships with our Tribal partners.”

Historic research shows that the campus encompasses what was at one point a Native American camp and burial ground of the Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Ojibwe and Potawatomi. A temporary memorial marker has been placed near the Communication Arts Center to acknowledge the Indigenous people buried there many years ago.

Members of the commission will advise the chancellor in the following areas:

  • Partner with UW-Stevens Point administration to establish a Cultural Resource Management Plan with various Tribal nations in the region;
  • Provide recommendations for a permanent memorial or another formal recognition to Native ancestors after consulting with and receiving support from the Tribal leaders in the region;
  • Provide recommendations for opportunities to integrate Indigenous Tribes’ history and culture into the curricular and co-curricular components of the institution;
  • In partnership with University Advancement and the UWSP Foundation, engage in efforts to fund a permanent memorial and provide scholarships to support Indigenous students’ access to a UW-Stevens Point education.

The group will be co-chaired by Al Thompson, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, and Skye Alloway of the Forest County Potawatomi Cultural Center, Library and Museum. The following Tribal and community members will provide recommendations to Chancellor Gibson by May 13, 2021:

  • Skye Alloway, Forest County Potawatomi Cultural Center, Library and Museum
  • Dave Grignon, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Menominee Nation
  • Karen Ann Hoffman, UWSP alumna, community partner and member of Oneida Nation
  • Mike LaRonge, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Forest County Potawatomi
  • Bill Quackenbush, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Ho-Chunk Nation
  • Ray Reser, former director and current curator of anthropology, UWSP Museum of Natural History