By OOP Public Relations Officer Ken Luchterhand
A ceremony was held to acknowledge the indigenous men, women, and children buried in an unmarked gravesite now occupied by the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point.
A temporary memorial marker was placed at the site during the ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 17
Representatives from each tribe of Native Americans interred in the burial grounds were present at the ceremony and gave a short speech. Those representatives were Karen Ann Hoffmann, Oneida; David Grignon, Menominee; Skye Alloway, Potawatomi; Brooks Boyd, Potawatomi; and Ken Luchterhand, Ho-Chunk.
UW-SP Native American Center Coordinator Iris Carufel organized the event.
The burial grounds are the site of a former Native American camp, which was just outside the Stevens Point city limits. The camp included people from the Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi tribes. Scarlet fever devastated the people at the site during the 1860s. The deceased were buried on that site.
Later, the city used the grounds as a garbage dump site.
Stevens Point Normal School was built on the grounds, which opened in 1894. In 1925, archaeologist Charles E. Brown recorded the indigenous village and burial ground.
One of the first steps to acknowledge the Native burial grounds is to place the memorial marker at the site, said UW-Stevens Point, Chancellor Bernie Patterson.
A permanent memorial to native ancestors is being planned for the site. Tribal heritage preservation officers, along with campus and community representatives, are working together to create the plaque.