(Baraboo, Wis.) A Ho-Chunk dance exhibition will kick off Wisconsin Reads The Round House at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8 in the gymnasium at University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County. A National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Big Read centering around Anishinaabe Louise Erdrich’s novel The Round House, Baraboo events will also center around her youth novel The Birchbark House. A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Minneapolis-based Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read is meant to broaden understanding of the world and our communities through the sharing of a good book.
The Round House follows the thoughts and actions of Joe Coutts, a young Native American boy, as he seeks to avenge the brutal rape of his mother, Geraldine. The sexual assault of Geraldine takes place on tribal land, which complicates the investigation/prosecution of the non-native offender. Joe’s father, Basil, is a tribal judge who feels helpless at his lack of ability to help his wife; the novel delves into the convoluted laws and jurisdictions that make it difficult for legal authorities to prosecute crimes that occur on Indian reservations. The Birchbark House is a coming of age story that focuses primarily on a girl named Omakayas, but in the process also describes the encroachment of white culture on an Ojibwe village on the Island of the Golden Woodpecker, present day Madeline Island in Lake Superior.
In addition to the Ho-Chunk dance exhibition, local sponsors of Wisconsin Reads The Round House have also scheduled a potluck and informational fair about the Big Read on Monday, February 19 at the Ho-Chunk House of Wellness to introduce the simultaneous Saturday book discussions and activities for adults and children taking place in March and April. Oneida poet Roberta Hill will give a poetry reading and introduction to The Round House as this year’s Distinguished Lecture Series at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County on Thursday, March 8 from 12:30 – 2 p.m.
The Wisconsin Reads The Round House project is a collaboration of University of Wisconsin Colleges and Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community Colleges’ students, faculty, and staff with the objective of bringing communities around the state together to discuss The Round House. Over 70 events will take place across the state in the cities and surrounding areas of Rice Lake, Hayward/LCO, Marshfield, Baraboo, Waukesha and Milwaukee in March and April of 2018 and will include discussions, films, lectures, art exhibits and
story-telling workshops, as well as programs for area youth.
For additional information on the Big Read program and upcoming events, please visit the website at http://wisconsinreads.org; contact UW-Baraboo/Sauk County Associate Academic Librarian Treasa Bane at 608.355.5293 or email@example.com or Wisconsin Reads The Round House Project Director Lee Friederich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Local sponsors of this event include the Ho-Chunk House of Wellness, the Baraboo Public Library and UW-Baraboo/Sauk County. For more information about UW-Baraboo/Sauk County, visit baraboo.uwc.edu.
Ho-Chunk Dancers photo caption: Ho-Chunk dancers Lucas, Levi and Buster Cleveland