Land Acknowledgement

American Players Theatre recognizes that the land on which we are gathered, this land that we love and celebrate, is part of the traditional and contemporary homelands of the Ho-Chunk people. 

This land was forcibly taken from the Ho-Chunk by the U.S. government and military through fraud, coercion, and genocidal violence. The Ho-Chunk people were subject to numerous removal attempts by federal, state, and territorial forces, as well as attempted cultural annihilation. Despite all of this violence, destruction, and suffering, the Ho-Chunk always resisted; they showed steadfast determination in the face of danger and remained on, or returned to, their beloved homeland. Thanks to their collective strength, resilience, and survivance, they continue to inhabit and enrich this place now called (by some) Wisconsin. 

APT is committed to nourishing respectful and responsible relationships with the Ho-Chunk Nation. We acknowledge and respect the inherent sovereignty of the Ho-Chunk Nation, and of the eleven other First Nations of Wisconsin. We also recognize the other historic Indigenous communities of Wisconsin, Indigenous individuals and communities who live here now, and those who were forcibly removed from their homelands. In offering this land acknowledgement, we are making a commitment to supporting and strengthening Indigenous sovereignty.   

We encourage our APT community to recognize the powerful stories that our settler culture has long omitted and erased – the painful, the positive, and the perseverant; stories that the Ho-Chunk people have lived with and carried within their communities for generations. We all must grapple with the hard truths of this place. We all know the beauty and wonder of this land, but we are not the first to feel that connection, and we cannot ignore the immoral and reprehensible history of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and environmental and cultural destruction that was, and continues to be perpetrated against the original people of this land. Their fight to remain here, and to preserve their language and culture, is a story of incredible importance. We have a responsibility to honor and respect the inherent dignity and sovereignty of the Ho-Chunk people, as well as their deep and abiding connection to this land that they have been living in relationship with since time immemorial. 

This acknowledgement is only the first step in our work to learn, understand, and be in responsible relationship with the human history of the lands on which we produce our work.  We will continue to nurture a relationship with the Ho-Chunk Nation, the first step of which was the conversation in developing this statement.  We look forward to sharing with our community the next steps in this essential, and long overdue, work of understanding and accountability.

Many resources were consulted in the creation of this land acknowledgement and the following are particularly useful sources of information and context regarding the current and historical experiences of Indigenous peoples in this region. We offer these resources as a potential starting point for those who want to continue to learn. We do not claim to speak for any group or sovereign nation. We encourage all to seek out, center, and listen to Indigenous voices.