We want to begin by asking you to consider what it means for this university to exist on Native land. Beyond the effigy mounds near Picnic Point, beyond the fire circle outside Dejope Hall, beyond former basketball star Bronson Koenig’s trip to Standing Rock, how often do you consider our campus’ relationship with the people who historically called the Isthmus home?
This was the question that guided our first Action Project Issue of the year. For those unfamiliar with the endeavor, these issues are special, themed projects that dive deeper into topics our daily news coverage doesn’t explore in as much depth.
Even though our paper’s staff is largely white, we tried to incorporate as many Native voices as possible to ensure this issue conveys the richness, nuance and resilience of the Native experience at this university and throughout the state. We want to acknowledge that these voices which may have previously been drowned out or pushed aside in campus conversations should, in fact, take center stage.
Despite the ignorance and even outright racism of many students, we believe this project demonstrates that Native culture is alive and vibrant both on this campus and throughout the state.
We also believed that the full depth of this experience is far more than could be conveyed in a print edition of The Daily Cardinal. That’s why, for the first time, we have dedicated an entire website to telling these valuable stories. Go to stillheredc.com for even more articles, as well as videos, photos and graphics exploring the Native experience in Wisconsin.
This project tells a wide range of stories, trying to shine a light on the experience of Native students at this university and in Madison schools. Our reporters looked at language classes at UW-Madison, sexual assault rates of Native women and problems that face many of the 12 tribes indigenous to Wisconsin. It also features Native art and music, as well as the stories of Native athletes.
The title of this issue is Still Here. Despite the ignorance and even outright racism of many students, we believe this project demonstrates that Native culture is alive and vibrant both on this campus and throughout the state. We hope this issue will serve to educate and remind us all that the original residents of this land would expect more from us than a few plaques or a single day dedicated to indigenous people — that we have a responsibility to put their stories, histories and culture at the heart of what we do on campus.