Ho-Chunk Nation

The land the Village of Waunakee currently occupies is Teejop, ancestral territory of the Hoocakra (Ho-Chunk Nation), People of the Sacred Voice. The Ho-Chunk Nation lived in this area for centuries prior to the European migration. Six Mile Creek and the adjacent woodlands and prairies provided an ideal environment for gathering and cultivating food and building homes. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of Native American interaction with the land in the Waunakee area dating back thousands of years, including keyhole dwellings, pottery sherds, tools, and projectile points. 

Thanks to the Village's partnership with the UW UniverCity Year program, we have started to foster a positive working relationship with representatives from the Ho-Chunk Nation. One UW student group pursued research on crafting a Ho-Chunk Nation - Waunakee Land Acknowledgement. The student group included Abby Haydin, Ben Masson, and Christopher Archuleta, and was instructed by Dr. Jessie Conaway. 

Ho-Chunk Nation Land Acknowledgement 

The Village of Waunakee acknowledges that the land we occupy is Teejop, ancestral territory of the Hoocakra (Ho-Chunk Nation), People of the Sacred Voice. Hoocakra are stewards of these lands and waters since time immemorial. Settlers attempted to forcibly remove them from their homelands by exploiting a series of land cessions and treaties, including the Treaty of 1832. However, the Hoocakra resisted these conquests and asserted their sovereignty as a nation. We address this trend of dispossession by upholding Hoocak woosgara (way of life), sovereignty, culture, language, and environmental practices. Acknowledging these atrocities is only the first step towards reconciliation. Through relationship-building education and action, the Village will advocate for a shared future with the  Hoocakra Nation.

~ Adopted Unanimously by Waunakee Village Board on 9/20/2021

As documented in the students' report, the following is the background and process involved in crafting the draft statement:

This land acknowledgment was created in collaboration with the Ho-Chunk Nation, the Village of Waunakee, UniverCity Year, and the UW - Madison Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies. Specifically, we would like to thank Jessie Conaway, Sarah Lemiuex, Josie Lee, Ryan Greendeer, Tom Wilson, and Todd Schmidt for their support in creating this statement. This land acknowledgment was inspired by the UW - Madison Shared Future Statement and was informed by Ho-Chunk history from Bill Quackenbush. Christopher Archuleta, Ben Masson, and Abby Haydin of UW - Madison studied other land acknowledgments to draft this statement. Their case studies looked at land acknowledgments by the Sac and Fox and Chicago Blackhawks, the First Nations of Toronto, the Meskwaki Nation, and the University of Northern Iowa. 

The Ho-Chunk Nation gave input throughout the process and reviewed a few drafts of the land acknowledgment statement. It was created as a standing point for a collaboration between the Ho-Chunk Nation and the Village of Waunakee. The UniverCity Year collaboration provides a way for the Village of Waunakee to create accompanying actionable projects. These projects included community education opportunities, cultural education in schools, and DEI education for the Village of Waunakee staff. The history that informed the land acknowledgment can be found on the history page on our website. 

While this set of initiatives primarily focuses on the Ho-Chunk, they are not the only tribe to traditionally inhabit the Waunakee area. The Ochethi Sakowin, Myaamia, Sauk and Meskwaki, Peoria, and Kiikaapoi Tribes either currently maintain a presence, or have lived in the region in the past ("Native Land").


Above is a short video Clean Lakes Alliance produced in partnership with the Ho-Chunk Nation and Studio 88 that looks at how our watershed was created, and how early decedents of the Ho-Chunk lived in this area nearly 13,000 years ago.

It is truly through an alliance of partners and supporters that we will be able to create "a community renowned for its healthy lakes, lands, and waters."



On November 1, 2022, the first day of Native American Heritage Month, Ho-Chunk leaders and Village Officials came together to raise the Ho-Chunk Flag over Village Hall. To further build on the land acknowledgment efforts, Ho-Chunk and Village Emblems were placed on each of the 4 welcome signs to the Village.

Read the full article written by UniverCity Alliance Staff member Abigail Becker here.