Ho-Chunk Propose Cultural Destination

With its deep roots in the Madison, Wisconsin area, the Ho-Chunk Nation is considering establishing a cultural destination on 47 acres at the tribe's Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison casino. Other possibilities for the land include an athletics facility or an entertainment venue.

In an effort to create a place to truly commemorate their deeply rooted history in the state, the Ho-Chunk Nation is trying to collaborate with the City of Madison to create “a cultural destination” on their casino grounds.

Leaders of the Ho-Chunk Nation have begun talks with Madison, Wisconsin officials about creating a cultural destination on 47 acres at the tribe’s Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison casino. Ho-Chunk Municipal Outreach Coordinator Missy Tracy said an athletic facility and entertainment venue also are being considered. “We’re not looking to compete with the City of Madison, but rather to do something collaborative. We’re working towards Ho-Chunk cultural and historical significance, towards creating a cultural destination. We have many of our settlements in this area dating back to about 500 A.D. We believe it’s very fitting, very appropriate for us to have this opportunity to do something here.”

Gerald Lee Cleveland, spiritual advisor for the On Wisconsin Annual Spring Powwow, said the tribe and the city have not collaborated frequently enough. He noted the Ho-Chunk Nation does not have designated reservation land, which has made maintaining a vibrant cultural identity more challenging. “Before we had the casinos, the other tribes had an advantage over us because they could receive everything the government gave out to people who owned land,” Cleveland said.

Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon stated, “We have a good relationship with the Ho-Chunk Nation and we are excited by their early visioning of what they could do with their land near and Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison and what it would mean for the greater Madison area.”