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Indigenous People: Edgewood Mounds

A guide to the indigenous people that lived on Edgewood land and Wisconsin.

Please see our digital archives collection for more information about the mounds on Edgewood's campus .

The Eagle Statue

Harry Whitehorse explains his eagle sculpture

Sometime in the early 19th century, a squirrel buried a Burr Oak acorn next to an eagle-shaped mound, an earth work created by the "ancient ones". The squirrel forgot about the acorn and the tree took root next to the eagle mound not far from a small duck-filled lake in an area known always to the Ho Chunk people as Dejope, which means four lakes in their language. 

The Burr Oak slowly grew in a quiet natural rhythm, silently witnessing the contacts between the Ho Chunk people and the American settlers. One of these early settlers was a Dominican Missionary named Father Samuel Mazzuchelli who is considered to be the founder of Madison, Wisconsin's Edgewood College, home of the Eagle-Mound Burr Oak. 

In 2006, the Eagle-Mound Burr-Oak, which was the oldest tree on the Edgewood campus, had to be removed because of root rot. Students and staff at Edgewood asked Harry Whitehorse to create a sculpture from the tree that will honor the history, present, and future of Dejope's indigenous people, the HoChunk. 

The above description, written by Debra Whitehorse, was copied from and used here with her permission.

Bird Mound Survey 

Bird Effigy Mound Survey

Survey map entitled "2003 Edgewood Campus Survey Area 6 Bird Mound mapped October 3, 2003." This survey was performed by the Great Lakes Archaeological Research Center. The map indicates the American Indian bird mound on Edgewood Campus.

Bird Effigy After the Prairie Burn

Bird Effigy After Prairie Burn

Bird Effigy Mound located across from the Oscar Rennebohm Library on the Edgewood College campus. This mound is a representative of the prairie ecosystem located on the Edgewood College campus. Each spring the mound is part of a controlled prairie burn which encourages prairie plant species and discourages the growth of a woodland ecosystem. This photograph shows the Bird Effigy Mound after the prairie burn. This effigy mound is also identified by a plaque that reads “Indian Bird Effigy Mound. Body 80 Feet. Wingspread 260 Feet. Marked by the History Department of the Madison Woman’s Club 1919.”