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Outdoor Exhibit

Wawa’ąįja (the carrying place, Portage) is a prominent location in the story of how Hoocąk (Ho-Chunk) families navigated the era of attempted forced expulsion from Wisconsin.  Hoocąk voices resounded at this place over these decades, and the “People of the Sacred Voice” endure here today.  "Walking Wawa’ąįja" was developed by the Historic Indian Agency House and the Ho-Chunk Nation Museum and Cultural Center to offer a glimpse into this important history.

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QR Code-Linked Content

The exhibit is enhanced by web-based videos, selected historical documents, and other resources.  The links below correspond with the QR codes found on the exhibit panels.  Explore these little-known stories more deeply:

Why Remember? 


It is our hope that digging into Portage's stories of forced displacement will help us acknowledge a nearly-forgotten part of history and better appreciate the ongoing stories of Ho-Chunks who have survived these experiences.  We hope that  engagement with this material will offer an opportunity for constructive reflection, and that you come away encouraged by the stories of perseverance within this history of trauma.

Why Portage? 


The stories of how Ho-Chunks navigated the era of expulsion took place on a geographic scale encompassing vast areas of Wisconsin and the Midwest.  So why do we focus on Portage in this exhibit?  There are two reasons.  First, there are few other places where nearly the entire spectrum of this history can be observed from the very start of forced expulsions in 1833 beyond the final one in 1873.  Second, individual people get lost in generalities when viewing this story from a high altitude. By zooming in on Portage, we're able to better relate to the individual lives which were impacted right where you are standing.

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Project Acknowledgements

Walking Wawa’ąįja was produced by the Historic Indian Agency House in collaboration with the Ho-Chunk Nation Museum & Cultural Center and. Thank you to the people and organizations which aided with research, development and financial support.  Funding for this project was contributed by:

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"Walking Wawa’ąįja" is made possible in part by Wisconsin Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin. This project supports Wisconsin Humanities' mission to strengthen the roots of community life through educational and cultural programs that inspire civic participation and individual imagination. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Walking Wawa'ąįja

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