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Lawrence University to dedicate sculpture, rename plaza in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

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The sixth annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration at Lawrence University later today will feature the dedication of a new contemporary art sculpture and the renaming of the plaza between the Seeley G. Mudd Library and the Wriston Art Center, according to a press release from the university.

The event, organized in collaboration with student members of LU Native Americans (LUNA), the Appleton Area School District’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, and various departments across the Lawrence campus, will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The outdoor event is free and open to the public. It will feature an introduction to and dedication of the new Otāēciah (Crane) sculpture created by Chris Cornelius, a UW-Milwaukee professor of architecture and a member of the Oneida Nation. It also will include the renaming of the plaza as Kaeyes Mamaceqtawuk, which means “Ancient People That Move” in the Menominee language. 

Installed in late summer, the sculpture is intended to be a permanent piece that further acknowledges that the Menominee people were Indigenous to the land where Lawrence is situated, according to the press release. 

The sculpture was funded by a gift from Lawrence alumnus Robert Anker and his wife, Patricia Anker. Both are expected to attend the dedication.

The Boldt Co. provided welding and structural work during the installation, working in partnership with Cornelius as the Otāēciah sculpture took shape. 

Lawrence President Laurie A. Carter will speak at Monday’s event, and blessing of the new plaza will be given in the Menominee language by elder Dennis Kenote of the Menominee Nation. The dedication will be followed by a pow-wow demonstration by drummers, singers, and dancers from the Oneida Nation. Traditional Indigenous food will be served. 

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is set annually on the second Monday of October.