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On Location: The 1832 Landscape

Explore the historic landscape of 190 years ago—the homeland of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Present-day footage features several locations related to the people and places of the region's historic landscape at the time the Fort Winnebago Indian Agency House was constructed in 1832.  This series dovetails with "A Landscape of Families": an outdoor  exhibition  created  on  our  grounds in  conjunction  with  the  Ho-Chunk  Nation  Museum  and  Cultural  Center.

An accompanying website provides in-depth historical and cultural enhancements related to the physical exhibit. 

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Episode 1: Introduction (3:46)

Understanding the cultural landscapes of history requires looking at today's vistas with new eyes. Explore with us the places the Ho-Chunk people called home 190 years ago. What we see today is vastly different than the landscape of two centuries past, but it provides perspective and insights into a story we cannot afford to forget.

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Episode 2: Fox River Region in 1832 (16:02)

The Fox River's Ho-Chunk population occupied a legendary corridor of travel, sustenance, and complex cultural interactions. With wild rice in abundance, shortgrass prairies interspersed with stands of burr oak, swamps of tamarack, and extensive wetlands, the view was distinctly different than what we see today. The pivotal year of 1832 would serve to usher in a wholesale transformation of the historic landscape.

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Episode 3: Rock River Region in 1832 (22:47)

The extensive Rock River watershed ranged dramatically from open prairies to vast swamps, crossing the topographical divide between land sculpted by glaciers and that which had developed alongside without the influence of ice. Ancient mounds and deeply sunk trails and traces stood as visible reminders of the long use of the landscape. But the 1830s were characterized by conflict, displacement, uncertainty, and hardship for the Rock River Ho-Chunk villages.

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Episode 4: Wisconsin River Region in 1832 (16:56)

The Baraboo River hosted the majority of the Wisconsin River region's Ho-Chunk population in 1832 as it became a refuge for those expelled from lands already ceded to the U.S. government. Within a decade, even this stronghold was lost to the winds of expulsion. But the people persevered through their long sojourn, and the areas of the Wisconsin River villages became centers of new beginnings for many who returned to their homeland.  

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Episode 5: Conclusion (4:07) 

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In the fall of 1832, Ho-Chunk family representatives journeyed from their villages to the portage for the annuity census. Ominous clouds hung thick over the proceedings as the Ho-Chunk people were poised on the very brink of expulsion from their homeland. It is ironic that the census document created at this juncture of devastating loss for the Ho-Chunk people would one day serve to reconnect us with their native villages, reinforce their cultural roots, and commemorate their ancestral heritage. May we all come away somehow changed by contemplating the historic landscape with new eyes.

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On Location 2022