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WisDOT Unveils Bilingual Highway Signs for Menominee Tribe; Three tribes have bilingual signs after the launch of the 2021 initiative | Wisconsin



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Dancers perform during the 2022 Madison College Spring Pow Wow presented by the college’s Native American Student Association on campus in Madison, Wisconsin. Saturday, April 23, 2022. This year’s event marked the 30th anniversary of the unification and honored the heritage and cultures of the Ho Chunk, Menominee, Munsee, Ojibwe, Oneida and Potawatomi nations. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL


JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL


On November 17, Governor Tony Evers, along with the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), unveiled new bilingual signs for installation on state highways.

The new signs indicate the tribal boundaries of the Menominee nation and other landmarks in both English and the Menominee language.

“The Menominee Nation, standing by our ancestors, is very pleased with the bilingual signs created for our homelands,” said Ron Corn Sr., Chairman of Menominee. “This is another example of our state recognizing and respecting our country, our sovereignty, our language and our unique cultural identity. Maec Waewaenen [Great Thanks] to Governor Evers and the Department of Transportation for their continued support.”

“I’m proud to stand with Chairman Corn and the Menominee Nation as we not only unveil these new signs, but also celebrate the Menominee culture, heritage and language that endures to this day,” said Evers. “I would like to thank WisDOT and the Menominee Nation for their collaboration on this project. I remain committed to my interstate partnership, respect tribal sovereignty, and celebrate the diversity, history, and cultures that make Wisconsin what it is today.”

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The unveiling of the signs took place at the Menominee Casino Resort and Convention Center in Keshena and expands on a statewide bilingual signage initiative started in 2021 by WisDOT to work with Wisconsin First Nations people to install English and Indigenous language traffic signs on tribal lands. The Menominee Nation is the third tribe in the state to install bilingual signs, after the Oneida Nation and the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

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“We are excited to join the Menominee Nation and offer bilingual highway signs on their tribal lands,” said WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson. “Signs always provide a sense of place and let motorists know where they are on their journey. Together we foster a greater sense of place and connect travelers to history by sharing Native American heritage.”

The new tribal boundary signs show the seal of the Menominee Nation next to the tribe’s name in the Menominee language “Omāēqnomenēw Eskōnekan”. Pronounced Oh-Mat-Na-Mah-Nay Esco-Nee-cun, Omāēqnomenēw Eskōnekan is the traditional name for the reserve, meaning ‘land destined for the Menominee people’. The unveiling comes during National Native American Heritage Month.

Wisconsin is home to 12 Native Americans including Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Forest County Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk Nation, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Oneida Nation, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Mole Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians and Brothertown Indian Nation.

Nationally recognized tribes are invited to learn more about the bilingual signs program and to apply at https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/doing-bus/civil-rights/tribalaffairs/dual-language-signs.aspx.

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