The Department of Biochemistry buildings in Madison, Wisconsin occupy ancestral Ho-Chunk land, a place the Ho-Chunk Nation has called Teejop (pronounced day-JOPE) since time immemorial. The Ho-Chunk were forced to cede the land where the University of Wisconsin was established in a September 1832 treaty between the Ho-Chunk and the United States.
An 1838 act by Congress approved a territorial land-grant to support the creation of universities by allotting 72 sections “out of any of the public lands within the territory *** to which the Indian title has been, or maybe, extinguished.” Through the Morrill Land Grant Act less than two decades later, over two hundred thousand acres of additional Indigenous lands previously ceded through violence-backed treaties with the Menominee and the Lake Superior Band of Ojibwe were allotted to the University of Wisconsin. Today, the university continues to financially benefit from Morrill Act funds held in perpetuity.
We as biochemistry researchers, students and staff work and live on the lands of the Ho-Chunk Nation. As researchers and as a society we have benefited from the discoveries and knowledge of the Ho-Chunk people and the Indigenous Nations of the Great Lakes, including agricultural cultivation, surgical wound draining and medicinal properties of plants.
We recognize the enduring presence and sovereignty of the Ho-Chunk people and the other eleven First Nations in the state of Wisconsin. As a department we are committed to working with Indigenous Scientists through mentoring trainees in the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) UW-Madison Chapter, supporting the Indigenous Environmentalism Working Group, and working with the Native Nations UW-Madison Phase 2 Working Group. We encourage all of our researchers, staff and visitors to educate one another and to create a better future together. Please visit the Our Shared Future website for more resources, and learn about the First Nations in the state of Wisconsin below.