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The History of Dejope Hall

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of University Housing is proud to announce that the new name for the Lakeshore Residence Hall will be Dejope Residence Hall. Dejope is the name that the Ho-Chunk and other American Indians have used for the Madison area for thousands of years. In the Ho-Chunk language, Dejope means “Four Lakes,” which describes this area that include Lakes; Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa. These four lakes are all connected by the Yahara River. This area contains many archaeological sites, revealing the thousands of years that the Ho-Chunk and other American Indians have lived around these four lakes and called them home. 

This name was selected after consulting with members of the Ho-Chunk Nation and others in discussions that started last summer. The Division of University Housing worked with the Ho-Chunk Nation on a name for this facility, because this area was home to the Ho-Chunk for thousands of years. The Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature passed a resolution allowing the Division of University Housing to use Dejope for their residence hall name on May 22, 2012. Part of the resolution stated; “it is in the best interest of the Nation to support and promote the education of its members and the education of others about the Ho-Chunk Nation…” The Ho-Chunk Nation has not provided any funding for this project. They have only provided us with an opportunity to share with others their history and future.

Dejope Residence Hall will become home to 408 students starting this fall. The building is located next to the UW Natatorium, Phillips Hall and Bradley Hall on the west side of campus, near the shores of Lake Mendota. A Fire Circle with bronze plaques on the sitting stones, representing the 11 Indian Nations in Wisconsin, will be located outside the north side of the building, facing the lake.  Inside on the first floor, embedded into the terrazzo floor, will be images of four of the campus effigy mound groups; Observatory Hill, Willow Drive, Picnic Point and Eagle Heights. The building will also have artwork displayed that depicts the lakes. In the 300-person “Lake Mendota” room there will be a 12’x10’ layered acrylic piece of Lake Mendota, showing the different depths of the lake. This artwork has been created by local artists, Gail Simpson and Aristotle Georgiades. In the east hallway, will be a 42”x 6’ fused glass and metal art piece showing an image of the four lakes of this area, created by artists Shawn Trentlage and Darcy Ferrill.

The Division of University Housing is pleased to have the opportunity to share information with others about the rich history of this area and to provide a quality living experience for people who once again will call this place “home”. 

UW-Madison has many sites on campus where the archaeological record can still be explored and studied. There are more distinct archaeological sites at UW-Madison than on any other university campus. The best known and most visible legacies of past native peoples at UW-Madison are earthen burial mounds which are widely scattered across the campus, with four mound groups located close to Dejope Hall. The mounds probably served a number of purposes, but the most obvious use was as a place of burial. Mounds are considered to be human burial sites and are protected by law. Images of four mound groups will be incorporated into the first floor terrazzo flooring at Dejope Hall, along with informational displays about them.

UW Madison Cultural Landscape: First Nations

A 2009 documentary telling the story of the American Indian Nations who inhabited Dejope or "Four Lakes" at the shores of Lake Mendota where the University of Wisconsin Madison was built in 1848, becoming a land grant institution by 1860; the story of the Ho Chunk Nation and the new time of shared future for both Indian and non Indian communities.