Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI

Ho-Chunk, Menominee Nations to join land acknowledgment ceremony

Representatives from the Ho-Chunk and Menominee Nations joined the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Holy Cross in a land acknowledgment ceremony at 1:30 pm Saturday, May 14, at St. Francis Convent, 3110 Nicolet Dr., Green Bay. 

The brief ceremony included:

  • Introduction by Sister Ann Rehrauer, Community President of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross
  • Remarks from Ho-Chunk Nation Office of the President, Nathaniel Longtail Jr. (in Ho-Chunk and English) followed by honor songs featuring Lawrence Walker Jr. President Marlon WhiteEagle of the Ho-Chunk Nation intends to offer a blessing at a future date.
  • Blessing by a Menominee Nation representative Dennis Kenote 
  • Blessing by the Sisters

The land acknowledgment will be memorialized in a 32” x 24” bronze sign mounted to a granite boulder at the convent’s driveway entrance. The sign reads: “The Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross gratefully acknowledge all the First Nations people who are the original inhabitants of this region. The Ho-Chunk Nation and the Menominee Nation especially have ancestral and spiritual connections to this land.”

While universities and other institutions have published and shared land acknowledgments in recent years, the practice itself is as old as people, says Angela Mooney D’Arcy, founder and executive director of the Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous People. In Australia, before traveling to someone else’s land the tradition is to acknowledge them respectfully in their language. It’s a way of recognizing where you are and that you are a guest, says Mooney D’Arcy. 
Locally, the Sisters began researching land acknowledgments after attending presentations on racism, migration and the climate. By April 2021, members of LCWR-9 (Wisconsin members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious) decided to learn more about racism as experienced by Asians, African Americans and Indigenous people.

“The presentations helped us understand the history of Indigenous people and the related issues such as land,” says Sister Ann Rehrauer, Community President of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross. “Our patron saint, Francis, saw God’s hand in all creation, which is why we care about this land. We want to be good stewards so that future generations may use it.”

Established in 1881, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross are rooted in the Cross, Word and Eucharist. Guided by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, they compassionately respond to the needs of our times through prayer, presence and hospitality.

CHERISHING THE LAND: Dennis Kenote of the Menominee Nation shared his nation’s stories of living in the Bay of Green Bay area. Also in attendance was Nathaniel Longtail Jr. (in back, second from left) of the Ho-Chunk Nation. To the right is Sister Ann Rehrauer, Community President. (Renae Bauer photo)

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