The Annual Meeting 2022 was held in-person, after two years of zoom meetings during the pandemic. About 70 people attended and another 20 joined the live streamed meeting on Zoom.
Drawing point was our keynote speaker Janice Rice, Ho-Chunk Nation tribal member and lecturer at the UW -Madison Information School. President Olympia Mathiaparanam addressed attendees via Zoom, streamed on screen at the Arboretum, while Will Vuyk gave the Friends Annual Report in-person and remembered Lil Tong, who passed away recently. Subsequently, Kelly Kearns thanked departing Board members for their service, Eve Emshwiller, Dane Gallagher, Seth McGee, Olympia Mathiarapanam and Paul Noeldner. Friends Vice president Seth McGee introduced the new slate of candidates for the Board of directors and conducted their election. New to the Board are Reba Luiken, Diana Tapia Ramon, Cole Roecker, Josh Sulman and Tom Zinnen. Also, MJ Morgan and Will Vuyk began their second terms, with Will being president elect. The entire event was organized by Olympia Mathiarapanam, Annual meeting chair, and Will Vuyk, MC. The technical feat of seamlessly switching the screen from Zoom to live Powerpoints was done by Anne Pearce. Report here by Gisela Kutzbach. Photos by Glenda Denniston and Gisela Kutzbach.
Preserve Director Gary Brown thanked the Friends for financial supported of the new Master Plan and introduced Preserve staff. Rhonda James, UW-Madison senior landscape architect, discussed the structure of the new Master Plan and invited the audience to attend the Master Plan Public Meeting on April 26, 2022 | 7:00 pm at Memorial Union.
Janice Rice gave the keynote address, Voices and Values of Teejop (Four Lakes): A Hoocąk (Ho-Chunk), Winnebago) Perspective. Janice, Peacemaker for the Ho-Chunk Nation Trial Court, wove together her academic findings with the voices of her Hoocąk ancestors. She traced her own cultural roots in the Teejop homelands and southern Wisconsin, illustrating her stories of Hoocąk leaders, villages and cultural values with photographs and maps. Ho-chunk villages once dotted the shorelines of the Four Lakes (Teejop).
Rice also related the stories of repeated forced removal of the Ho-chunk people from their ancestral lands to reservations further west and their determination to return to their homes. She explained the circumstances of the 1837 treaty that ceded all their lands in Wisconsin. The treaty itself was made under suspicious conditions, as the Ho-Chunk were not aware that it gave them only eight months to leave their ceded lands. The army attempted to remove the tribe to the Neutral Ground. Iowa, in 1841, but many Ho-Chunk came back to Wisconsin. Eventually, by the 1880s, the government decided to allow the Ho-Chunk to take up 40-acre farms and remain in Wisconsin.
By contextualizing the landscape of Teejop with the deep histories, personal stories, and current vibrance of the Hoocąk community, Rice afforded us the opportunity to see the Preserve and the surrounding areas of Madison from a new perspective. As the Friends, we will strive to honor this perspective in our actions and care for the Preserve moving forward.