Territory Acknowledgement for Winnebago County
We acknowledge that Winnebago County resides within the traditional homelands of many Indigenous nations:
Hoocąk (Ho-Chunk, formerly Winnebago)
- Bodéwadmik (Potawatomi), Odawa, and Ojibwe (Three Fires)
- Asâkîwaki (Sauk) and Fox
- Kiash Matchitiwuk (Menominee)
Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux).
These people, along with other tribes before them, have stewarded this land throughout history and continue today. Information is sourced from Native Land, “History of the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County, Illinois,” and the University of Illinois College of Medicine- Rockford.
Territory acknowledgement is a way that people insert an awareness of Indigenous presence and land rights in everyday life. Acknowledgment is a starting place to inspire critical thought about the disenfranchisement of Indigenous peoples by colonial efforts and a need for change in settler colonial societies. To learn more about the purpose of territory acknowledgments and view an interactive map, visit https://native-land.ca/.
The name “Winnebago”
According to Wisconsin First Nations, until 1993, the Ho-Chunk Nation was formerly known as the Wisconsin Winnebago Tribe. However, the term Winnebago is a misnomer derived from the Algonquian language family and refers to the marsh lands of the region. Today, there are approximately 8,000 Ho-Chunk Nation citizens living in the five districts of the Ho-Chunk Nation as well as living throughout the United States and the world.
Ho-Chunk are recognized with a sculpture at Nature At The Confluence in South Beloit, Illinois.
Educational lectures and events on local Native American history are held at Tinker Swiss Cottage in Rockford. The Tinker property is home to a conical mound, and other effigy mounds remain throughout Illinois in places including Cahokia and Galena.
The First People Exhibit at Burpee Museum in Rockford includes information about Native American life through history up to present day.
Beattie Park in downtown Rockford is home to Native American effigy mounds. The mounds in and around the park were built by the people of the Effigy Mound tradition of the Late Woodland period of American prehistory, according to the National Register of Historic Places. Known as Mound Park until the early 20th century, the site was purchased by John Beattie in 1837. Beattie’s daughters Mary and Anna deeded the land to the Rockford Park District in 1921 on the condition that the park be a place of rest and relaxation and that the mounds be preserved and maintained. Read more in this Rockford Register Start article.