MADISON, Wis. (AP) —
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has raised the Ho-Chunk Nation flag over its main administration building, marking the first time that the university has flown another nation’s flag with the U.S. flag and the Wisconsin flag.
Friday's ceremony at Bascom Hall felt historic to senior Paige Skenandore who grew up on a reservation in northern Wisconsin and is one of roughly 100 Native American students on campus. It also felt long overdue.
“I think this is a great first step,” Skenandore told the Wisconsin State Journal. “It’s been a long time coming. It’s kind of shocking that it hasn’t happened before.”
Ho-Chunk Nation Chief Clayton Winneshiek told attendees the flag-raising was “a start.”
UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said the flag-raising was more than a symbolic gesture but part of an ongoing commitment to educate and acknowledge the state’s tribes and their sovereignty.
Almost 190 years ago, the U.S. government and Ho-Chunk Nation signed the Treaty of 1832, which forced the tribe to give up territory that includes the UW-Madison campus.
“For many years, UW–Madison was not mindful of this history, and we paid little attention to our relationship with the descendants of those who were here long before us,” Blank told a crowd of at least a couple hundred. “But we are working to change that.”