The Dane County Board followed the lead of the Monona City Council when supervisors approved a resolution to change the name of Squaw Bay to Wicawak Bay.
The change has yet to be approved by the Wisconsin Geographic Names Council and the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.
According to the resolution passed by the city council on Monday, Sept. 16, members of the Ho-Chunk Nation excelled as fur trappers in the area, and the muskrat was one animal trapped and remains highly revered and celebrated by the Ho-Chunk Nation.
In 2005, the Ho-Chunk Nation Traditional Court recommended renaming the bay Muskrat Bay (Wicawek, pronounced We-chow-ek in the Ho-Chunk language). That request was never fulfilled.
“This name change honors and celebrates the historical significance of the Ho-Chunk Nation in Dane County and Wisconsin,” said County Board Supervisor Tanya Buckingham (District 24, Monona). “It’s high time we removed the outdated and inappropriate reference to this beautiful section of Lake Monona.”
The county board approved their resolution Thursday, Sept. 19.
“Thank you to everyone who raised concerns about the current name and demanded the change,” Buckingham said. “People throughout our communities – Madison, Monona, and Dane County – have expressed broad support for the resolution.”