MADISON, WI -- Gov. Tony Evers, together with the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), today unveiled new dual-language signs for placement on state highways. The new signs indicate the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin’s Tribal boundaries and communities in both the Ojibwe and English languages.
“Reversing the decline of our Ojibwe language has become one of Tribal Leadership’s most desired goals. The Tribe has been working diligently to revitalize our language through educational efforts, cultural ceremonies, historic preservation, and work assignments,” St. Croix Chairman William Reynolds said. “In the prioritization of dual language signage, we demonstrate our desire to both speak and understand Ojibwe and the pride we have in our language. It is our hope the dual-language signs will also encourage non-tribal people living near or passing through our communities to have a better and kinder understanding of who we are as traditional Anishinaabe people.”
“I am proud to stand with Chairman Reynolds and the St. Croix Tribe as we unveil these signs and celebrate the culture, heritage, and language of Ojibwe people,” Gov. Evers said. “I am grateful for the work between the Department of Transportation and the St. Croix Tribe to bring these dual-language signs to life. Together, we are fostering a stronger sense of connection, informing visitors of our shared history, and celebrating Tribal heritage.”
The sign unveiling took place earlier today at the St. Croix Tribal Center in Webster and expands on a statewide dual-language sign initiative launched by WisDOT in 2021 to collaborate with Native Nations in Wisconsin to install road signs on Tribal lands in both English and Indigenous languages. The St. Croix Tribe is the fifth Tribe in Wisconsin to install dual-language signs, along with the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Oneida Nation, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Mole Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
“We are thrilled to join the St. Croix Tribe and offer these dual-language signs on their Tribal lands. These signs identify multiple Tribal communities in Barron, Burnett, and Polk counties,” WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson said. “It is great to see this program expand across the state as road signs always provide a sense of place and inform motorists where they are on their journey.”
The new Tribal boundary signs feature the St. Croix Tribal seal next to the Tribe’s name in Ojibwe, “Metaawangaag.” Pronounced Meh-ta-wan-gog, Metaawangaag is the traditional name for the reservation, which means “sandy beach.” The English language version of the highway sign is located beneath the St. Croix Tribe version.
Wisconsin is home to 12 Native Nations, including the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Forest County Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk Nation, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Oneida Nation, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Mole Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians, and Brothertown Indian Nation. Federally recognized Tribes are invited to learn more about the dual-language sign program and apply at the WisDOT website here.