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UW-Stevens Point marks Native American burial site on campus

January 1, 2021 GMT

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (AP) — A memorial on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus now marks the land as a gravesite for Native Americans buried there in 1863.

Karen Ann Hoffman helped lead the effort and told Wisconsin Public Radio it’s a “hard-won first step.”

By 1863, hundreds of Indigenous people of several tribes were living in a camp in what is now Stevens Point. The members of the group were essentially refugees displaced by American settlers.

As many as 100 Indigenous people died when the scarlet fever swept through the camp. About 30 years later, the university purchased the land where its campus is today.

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The plaque installed last month on campus recognizes that history. It comes after years of work by Hoffman, Stevens Point anthropologist and researcher Ray Reser and others. In September, they led a community letter-writing campaign aimed at convincing the university to take action.

UW-Stevens Point Chancellor Bernie Patterson said the university is committed to establishing a permanent memorial on the site.