The Madison Public Library and Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison are calling for submissions for Teejop and Beyond, a celebration of Native artists, storytellers, and community leaders honoring Indigenous people.
Through this collaboration, Indigenous artists will be able to present works including creation stories, cultural celebrations and seasons customs, food, herbs and crops, skills and crafts, histories about removals, returns and important figures, Indigenous peoples in community and government and relationships between different nations or collective efforts towards decolonization.
Neeyati Shah works with the Madison Public Library as a community engagement librarian. She talked with Madison365 about the importance of this programming and her hopes for participants and community members.
“We’re on Indigenous land,” Shah said. “We also try to make sure that we are at least trying to work and reach out to any community that is living here, and particularly the first people here. We had gotten feedback from various native folks in some community meetings, just about the type of programming that the library was already doing, which we’ve always done some Native programs.
“But often, it was maybe one thing here or there, it wasn’t like deeper engagement. We did hear that people wanted to see what it would be like if we did something that was more than one program here or there.”
Participants can pitch up to three ideas for programming and will be compensated per program. The deadline to apply for Teejop and Beyond is July 30. Applicants will be notified by late August.
The Madison Public Library has had a distinct focus on supporting the lives and stories of Indigenous people and wanted to continue that support throughout the state.
“This year, actually anybody who’s living in Wisconsin, who is Indigenous, even if their homelands are somewhere else in North America, or even somewhere else in the world,” Shah said. “We decided at this point, we’re ready to expand and keep opening up and learning.”
Shah added how important it is to be working with Indigenous people and helping them expose their stories and heritages. One of the goals set by Ho-Chunk collaborators early on was related to dispelling myths and stereotypes.
“They also told us that they get a ton of requests from the public about learning about Ho-Chunk and about other native cultures,” she said. “This allows us to take on some of that work of hosting that and letting presenters determine their content.”
Shah hopes year’s call for programming invites a plethora of ideas and presentations from the many different Indigenous communities throughout the state.
“As someone who’s not Indigenous, there’s so much that I don’t know,” she said. In our education system, we have maybe one narrow story or a couple of stories, but this really opens it up.”
Shah and the collaborators from the Ho-Chunk nation hope to see many new ideas and stories for this programming. They also hope participants come and learn about Indigenous cultures and histories.
“We’re really excited to see what we have not seen,” she added. “We had a cooking demo that was really cool to see and really successful. We’ve had beadwork workshops, writings, and discussions around birth and kinship and history. we’re kind of open to anything and then we’ll see if certain themes come out after that, but we’re trying not to decide ahead of time what we want people to do.”