Gundersen garden recognizes Ho-Chunk ancestral lands - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Gundersen garden recognizes Ho-Chunk ancestral lands

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Gundersen Lutheran dedicated what they call the 7th Street Healing Garden today.

It's a spot to commemorate the ancestral lands of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

In 1991, construction crews unearthed an Oneota village in the Gundersen neighborhood.

Archaeologists discovered many artifacts and some burial sites in the area.

The garden is located near Gundersen's cancer center, and it offers a place for patients and families to reflect.

Gundersen leaders say the garden is also a chance to recognize the ho-chunk nation, whose ancestors lived there centuries before European settlement.

"It's acknowledging the ancestors, it's acknowledging the descendants--the people who are living here right now," said Gundersen Sustainability Coordinator Tom Thompson. "It's just a good bridge-building and opportunity for us to be partners and community together, and to celebrate this."

Ho-Chunk leaders spoke during the dedication, thanking Gundersen for their support. They expressed hope that the site would help people remember the Native American history of the Upper Mississippi.

"When we talk about a rich history, we talk about our history, our folks," said Jon Greendeer, President of the Ho-Chunk Nation. "I've heard often and always from people I look up to, especially in our cultural areas, that talked about how when our history is left in the area, that's where it's meant to stay.

Today's dedication featured a performance by the Ho-Chunk nation singers, and a blessing from the Ho-Chunk nation in the tribe's native language.

The garden was made possible by a donation from the Ho-Chunk Nation and the work of Gundersen Facilities.

The project was supported by the Mississippi Valley Archaeological Center.

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