Relaying thousands of years of history in only 20 minutes is not easy, but Bill Quackenbush did his best at the July 22 Waunakee Rotary meeting.
Bill specifically told some of the Ho-Chunk Nation history in Wisconsin, noting that the indigenous people lived in an area spanning from Green Bay to Chicago. They called the Madison area Tejop or Dejope, which translates to four lakes. He showed a map of the region with the Ho-Chunk names and noted they were more descriptive, with names that translate to Big River for the Mississippi and Little Big River for the Wisconsin River.
Using a 50-foot rope to demonstrate the time line, Bill noted that every inch represents 20 years. While United States history books talk about Wisconsin’s history beginning in 1492 when Columbus happened to sail over, then in 1634 when Jean Nicolet landed on the shores, and finally in 1848 when Wisconsin became a state, this land’s history far precedes those periods.
Ho-Chunk oral history notes that the last glacial era was a big episode, and during that time, the ancestors found a place of refuge.
Archeological studies have found tools from the glacial era. Bill said his elders were asked about unique soils in one area. Jim Funmaker, at age 92, remembered the oral history passed down about the glacial era, when water, ice and earth created a dam and forced water up the Wisconsin River. It told the story of why water flows backwards. The dam eventually broke loose and left smaller rivers, like the Kickapoo, behind. Soil analysis found silt from the St. Croix River mixed with silt from the Wisconsin River in the region’s soils.
One archaeologist in the study noted that the Native American history backed up science, but Bill and others have pointed out that science is backing up their oral history.
The Madison area has been occupied by humans since the glaciers came through about 11,000 year ago, Bill said. He showed maps of the villages, noting that the city is much different today than it was 500 years ago. He also showed what was left of the effigy mounds, noting as development has occurred, the history has been lost.
Bill is participating in the Village of Waunakee’s project with UniverCity Year to honor the Ho-Chunk heritage during Waunakee’s 150th year. The Ho-Chunk will have a float in the WaunaFest parade, he said.
Other news:
-Phil Willems presented Bob Lenz with a Paul Harris Fellow. Bob contributed $10,000 to help with the pier project at the Village Center Pond.
-Bob Klostermann is planning a Betty Lou Cruise for Sept. 26. It will be a brunch. The cost is $40-$46 per person.
-Volunteers are needed for the Rotary Food Stand at WaunaFest, especially on Sunday.
Guests: ??
Visiting Rotarians: ??
Birthdays: July 29, Jim Pingel; Aug. 3, Drew Lawrence; Aug. 4, Jon Townley
Anniversaries: Aug. 4, Rich and Carolyn Harris
Greeters: July 29, Jim Elvekrog and Daniel Evans; Aug. 5, Jim Fitzpatrick and Tracy Graber; Aug. 12, Richard Harris and David Hogg; Aug. 19, Lisa Humenik and Jim Kattner.