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Still no meeting between Chamber of Commerce and Ho-Chunk over Hiawatha statue



                  Chamber supported Indian statue project as tourism attraction around 1960

When the newest round of complaints about La Crosse’s Hiawatha statue began this month, the La Crosse Chamber of Commerce offered to speak with local Ho-Chunk members to hear their concerns.

Chamber director Vicki Markussen said the two sides are still working to arrange that meeting.

Ho-Chunk members are among those who have revived calls for the statue to be taken out of the park, because many consider it an offensive caricature.

“We’re not saying we want it torn down,” Markussen said. “We honestly just need to start having conversation with the leadership to say, ‘What are those concerns?’ so that we have understanding of what those concerns are and then we can find a solution, whatever that may be.”

Markussen says no time or place has been set for the statue discussion yet.

The Hiawatha statue has stood in Riverside since the early 60s — one of many tourism projects encouraged at the time by the Chamber of Commerce.


A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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