The Oneida Nation and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently unveiled new dual-language signs for placement on state highways. The new signs signify the Oneida Nation’s tribal boundaries and other features in both the Oneida and English languages.
[Above photo by the Wisconsin DOT]
The new tribal boundary signs feature the Oneida Tribal Seal next to the Tribe’s name in its native language – Onʌyoteʔa:ká – (O-na-yo-day-aah-GAaa) the traditional name for the reservation, which means “The People of the Upright Stone.” The English language version of the highway sign is located beneath the Oneida Nation version.
Oneida Nation is the second tribe in Wisconsin to install dual-language signs, which are the result of a statewide initiative Wisconsin DOT launched in 2021.
“We are honored to join the Oneida Nation and offer dual-language highway signs on their tribal lands,” noted Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson in a statement.
“We are proud to deepen the longstanding cooperation between state and tribal governments,” he added. “Together we are fostering a stronger sense of place, and connecting travelers to history by sharing Native American heritage.”
The agency’s Bureau of Traffic Operations and Tribal Affairs division, along with the Federal Highways Administration, state Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, and the Oneida Nation leadership developed the dual-language highway sign proposal eventually approved by FHWA.
“Oneida Language is the first language of our ancestors and we appreciate the state of Wisconsin for their recognition and respect of our sovereignty, language and traditions,” noted Oneida Chairman Tehassi Hill.
“Native preservation and languages go to the heart of a Tribe’s unique cultural identities, traditions, spiritual beliefs, and self-governance,” Hill explained. “We look forward to revitalizing the Oneida language through these signs.”