During this Native American Heritage Month, a group of volunteers at UW-Madison built a ciiporoke, a housing structure that “has long been a place of home, family, community, teaching and learning in the Ho-Chunk culture,” according to campus news. The structure was built on the lawn of a campus residence hall, as UW-Madison occupies ancestral Ho-Chunk land. The initiative is part of a process to better understand and support Indigenous student, staff and faculty relationships with the institution, as well as to help explore how UW-Madison spaces can be transformed into Indigenous places.

The Ho-Chunk were forced to cede the territory where UW-Madison now stands in an 1832 treaty. The Native Nations UW Indigenous Placemaking Subcommittee and the Our Shared Future campus effort hosted the ciiporoke project to share Ho-Chunk culture through educational outreach.

“I’ve never done anything like this, other than build a fort as a kid,” said student volunteer Emily Smith, of Spring Grove, Illinois. “It seemed like a cool opportunity to do something by hand instead of just read about it. And I hope it’s a reminder to students of where this land came from.”

Read more about the project here.