APPLETON, Wisconsin – The sixth annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration at Lawrence University on Monday, Oct. 11 will feature the dedication of a new contemporary art sculpture and the renaming of the plaza between the Seeley G. Mudd Library and the Wriston Art Center.
The event, organized in collaboration with student members of LU Native Americans (LUNA), the Appleton Area School District’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, and various departments across the Lawrence campus, will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The outdoor event is free and open to the public. It will feature an introduction to and dedication of the new Otāēciah (Crane) sculpture created by Oneida architecture professor Chris Cornelius. It also will include the renaming of the plaza as Kaeyes Mamaceqtawuk, which means “Ancient People That Move” in the Menominee language. Cornelius is an associate professor of architecture in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning.
Installed in late summer, the sculpture is intended to be a permanent piece that further acknowledges that the Menominee people were Indigenous to the land where Lawrence is situated.
The sculpture was funded by a gift from Lawrence alumnus (1964) Robert Anker and his wife, Patricia Anker. Both are expected to attend the dedication.
The Boldt Co. provided welding and structural work during the installation, working in partnership with Cornelius as the Otāēciah sculpture took shape.
Lawrence President Laurie A. Carter will speak at Monday’s event. A blessing of the new plaza will be given in the Menominee language by elder Dennis Kenote of the Menominee Nation. The dedication will be followed by a pow-wow demonstration by drummers, singers, and dancers from the Oneida Nation. Traditional Indigenous food will be served.
The sculpture will take center stage, its signage reading: The form of Otāēciah references a crane, one of the five traditional Menominee clan symbols. The perforated and patinaed steel panels, modeled after woodland textile patterns, overlap like a bird’s feathers. Menominee beadwork designs, created with elements of geometric patterns, are prominently featured. The decorative shapes that crown the piece signify ceremonial regalia. The sculpture points directionally toward the present land of the Menominee Nation. The three inside posts supporting the sculpture represent LUNA’s motto: “We stand together – stronger together.”
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is set annually on the second Monday of October, celebrating the many contributions of Indigenous people.