Michel: Two views, one vision

The way I view the world may be unfamiliar to most
Michel: Two views, one vision
Effigy Mounds National Monument

The way I view the world may be unfamiliar to most Madisonians. I see the present while also visualizing it through the framework of timeless teachings told to me by my family. Homeowners whose families have lived on a property for generations might know that feeling of land stewardship and perhaps are influenced by thoughts of how their forebearers cared for those same homes and grounds. As someone with ancestral ties to the Madison area, I see my community through the values of my Ho-Chunk people. And as interim publisher and editor-in-chief of this magazine, I am thrilled to give readers a starting point for learning about that duality in this month’s cover story, “Native Now.”

We just scratch the surface in this package of stories about Native Americans, co-written by Lorenzo Gudino, a Fort Sill Chiricahua Warm Springs Apache. His knowledge of Native issues was helpful, and it was a rare treat to assign a story to a Native American writer. Imagine my initial dismay when he told me he is switching careers to pursue a law degree, but, of course, I am happy for him and wish him the very best. His stories, “Recognizing Tribes as First Stakeholders” and “Sacred Places,” offer glimpses into local and statewide efforts to preserve lands and Native culture. They are a nice complement to the smattering of statistics and “did you know” type of information on Native Americans.

The content is educational, but so is the image on the cover. Missy Tracy of Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison was gracious in letting us photograph her in both her Native dress and contemporary attire. It exemplifies the duality of seeing the world through two lenses. I want to give special mentions to photographer Patrick Stutz for capturing the images, art director Tim Burton for producing the cover image and managing editor Andrea Behling for suggesting the idea. It’s great to work with a team that takes great care in every aspect of telling stories for our readers.

One other item of note is about the Spectrum Voices column (which will be published online August 21). Because the Native American package lacks a personal story, I sought out local people to fill that void but was unsuccessful. The writer is Anne Thundercloud, a former Madisonian who is my niece. Normally I would not give an assignment to a close relative, but the pool of Native writers is small. My journalistic ethics require me to disclose that relationship.

This month’s cover story is aimed at helping readers gain new insights into how indigenous Wisconsinites see our world. I hope you enjoy it.