At a special ceremony held Tuesday, Nov. 7, the UW–Madison campus community and invited guests celebrated the installation of Ho-Chunk banners on Bascom Hall, commissioned as part of the University of Wisconsin’s 175th anniversary. The university occupies land that was the ancestral home of the Ho-Chunk.
The banners were designed in collaboration by UW–Madison doctoral student Molli Pauliot and faculty members Marianne Fairbanks and Stephen Hilyard, and are part of the Our Shared Future initiative, the university’s commitment to respect the inherent sovereignty of the Ho-Chunk Nation. The banners will remain up through November and then return during the spring semester as part of a regular rotation of themed banners.
The designs for the banners, inspired by traditional Ho-Chunk beadwork, were first sketched out by Pauliot and Fairbanks, a textile artist and associate professor of design studies in the School of Human Ecology. Hilyard, an associate professor of digital arts in the School of Education’s Art Department, then took their designs and used 3D animation software to replicate the intricacy of the beadwork on a grand scale, creating the effect of 160,000 individual small beads called “sead beads.”
“I was very happy to be involved,” Hilyard says in a UW–Madison news story about the project. “I felt it was such an important thing to see Ho-Chunk beadwork in one of the most marquee sites on campus. This seems like an important thing for the university to do.”