Hiawatha should remain in La Crosse Riverside Park.

The Hiawatha statue is a destination for thousands of family photos. Memories start here, before they take a ride on the river. Little do they know Hiawatha is one of our founding American heroes. His words are part of our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

In the late 1450s, culminating in 1715, the Iroquois Nation formed the Iroquois (league of) Confederacy under the Iroquois Constitution of 6 Nations. The confederacy was conceived by Dekanawidah, the “Great Peacemaker” and he chose Hiawatha (Hahyonhwatha), a Mohawk leader, as his spokesman.

Dave Trapp


The Iroquois Constitution was an oral document of 117 articles. It was written on Wampum belts until 1744, when it was then translated to English as “The Great Law of Peace;” the “Gayanashagowa.”

Ben Franklin circulated copies of the Treaty of Lancaster that was clearly influenced by “The Great Law of Peace.” This inspired Ben Franklin’s and James Madison’s strong fight for individual liberties and a separation of powers. John Rutledge of South Carolina read from the Treaty at the Constitutional Convention, “We the people to form a union to establish peace, equality and order.”

It’s also thought that U.S. suffragettes used the Great Law to raise the status of women because the 6 Nations had male chiefs, but they were selected by the female clan and the 6 Nation female leaders.

You have free articles remaining.

Become a Member

Register for more free articles.
Stay logged in to skip the surveys.

Finally, in 1982, by U.S. congressional concurrent resolution #331, we formally recognized the Gayanashagowa’s “The Great Law of Peace” influence on our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Hiawatha’s spoken words live on in our classrooms every day. It’s an honor to have the reminder of a Native American leader in La Crosse.

Anthony Zimmerhakl’s great gift does need symbolism and costume correction, with advice from the University of Wisconsin anthropology department or the Smithsonian Institute and with a unity of authenticity and regional symbols; Hiawatha is a great ambassador of La Crosse.

Be the first to know - Sign up for News Alerts

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Dave Trapp resides in Onalaska.


(18) comments

screen name

Washington Post poll finds 9 in 10 Native Americans aren’t offended by Redskins name.





That wouldn't surprise me at all, crank. It might surprise you to hear this, but I think the day will come when Native Americans will regret seeing the disappearance of team names used out of respect for Native American bravery and fortitude.


This issue is going to keep returning again and again until the Zimmerhakl family is forced to pay restitution for this 'slap in the face' to all Native American people. Consider the fact a local high school art teacher made this thing out of concrete and he ain't the guy who carved Mt. Rushmore. Borglum was clearly better at sculpting noses than Zimmerhakl! But do you suppose Zimmerhakl in any way meant to offend anyone?

Didn't his family ask to move the statue somewhere where they could preserve it? If they somehow manage to move this, I think no matter where it is moved someone will continue to be offended by its mere existence.


Our resident ethicist, crank, makes his usual contribution of nothing of value.


And you, oldhomey, what did you contribute? I’m not at all surprised. Again you respond to every, single comment I post as if by reflex, a dog chasing a slobber-covered tennis ball. Go fetch, little fella. #obsessed #enemieslist


I doubt that I contribute anything much at all to these boards, crank, except, perhaps, a little bit of humor once in awhile, intended or not. What I don't represent is the amoral nastiness that you do, a man who, in lieu of being able to make a point honestly, instead tries falsely to intimidate posters with whom you disagree, trying to convince people that you have uncovered their actual identities and facts about their lives. These boards are here for people to freely express opinions and differences, but not with the underhanded meanness and total lack of ethics and integrity. You could apologize for your bad behavior, and people would soon forget about it. Since you plow ahead and even continue to pretend you are delving into people's identities, I will continue to remind you and those unaware of what you represent, your reprehensible behavior. The shoe fits, big fella, it is yours and you will have wear it.


Another proclamation from the trib-lib super troll and sock puppet master!

Perhaps you find it mean to let people know the sort of scoundrel you are. If you are free to pass judgement on others and troll your enemies, it is certainly OK for others to pass judgement on your behavior. Why don’t you come clean? How many fake accounts do you use here each day (on average), oldhomey? Be honest... You won’t... [yawn][sleeping]#puppetking


BTW: any thoughts of your own about the Hiawatha statue or is it your mission simply to troll others when they post theirs, oldhomey?


So Crank how is your hero John Ratcliffe doing? I guess even Trump wasn't as big of a fan as you are.



I wonder, first of all, what John Ratcliffe has to do at all with the topic of the Hiawatha statue in Riverside Park. Secondly, where did you get the notion I am a fan of or otherwise consider John Ratcliffe my hero? Why not ask DaisyL about her hero, John Ratcliffe? #troll


Well, gosh, crank, I surely would be interested in seeing you let people know what sort of scoundrel I am. Please lay it out, with facts to prove what you allege. I post all the time on here, so there should be no shortage of posts in my own words that prove your point, as I have used your own posts to show what a scoundrel you are. Put up or shut up, big fella. And if you dip into martian's posts, that will be disallowed. We are not the same people, as you well know. As for my thoughts on the Hiawatha statue, I have expressed them many times. One is just below here on this string. Just scroll down and read it.


The history of Hiawatha could be put on a plaque. If the plan is to correct the statue's clothing etc. it's much like tweaking other artists works. Can't imagine tweaking a Van Gogh, or Monet or the smile of the Mona Lisa or a writers work. It was the interpretation of the artist & was not meant to be historically correct. Thus, if that is the goal to enable the statue to remain, it probably should be taken down & a historically correct statue of Hiawatha should be put up.


Mr Trapp failed to verify that the statue was named Hiawatha to honor a Native American from an Eastern tribe. If the artist had that intent you would of thought he would of put more effort into being more historically correct. I was under the impression the statue was to represent the local Ho-chunk nation, but again it is not historically correct for that either. It looks more like a stereotype caricature of a cigar store Native American that was quite common awhile back. Putting new clothes on the statue would require a complete redo if that's possible.. Not sure how that would be better than having a new one.

Rick Czeczok

And that is in your eyes. Not everyone looks at things the same way you do. Some see a proud Indian of the past watching over where three rivers meet. Just saying.


Daisy, you bring up some good points. I don't recall any political correctness arguments about the works of Van Gogh, Money or DaVinci, however. But there are plenty of political correctness arguments about great works of literature, such as Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird. They cannot be altered to conform to evolving sensibilities, but they most certainly should not be removed and banned, either, like many would like to see. They should be appreciated as the great works of art that they are and as useful markers of the time and context in history and sensibilities of when they were created. The same should be said of Zim's statue. His big heart was definitely in the right place when he created it as a gesture of deep respect to Native American culture. The fact that it is flawed in its depiction of Hiawatha and its stereotyped arms-crossed-sternly pose should certainly be noted and discussed in signage accompanying the statue as a gesture to Native Americans who certainly do not like its depiction. I thought the whole statue should be preserved and moved to a more appropriate, less prominent place. I don't think that is going to happen, at least for another generation. Mr. Trapp's appeal is mostly to the sentiment of happy days of growing up here. I am normally a sucker for such sentiment, but I think the city cannot ignore those who find offense in the statue and could make some effort to honestly address that.

Rick Czeczok

The Ho Chunk said it was OK.... We can't change our history, it is what it is. As far as the artist rendition, times have changed since this was first put up, as has art styles. Like you said and I agree, many of the masterpieces as well as modern art have some political or other bias attached to them. That doesn't mean destroy them. They can be there to remind us of that past. Even though some of our past is blanketed with things that we are not proud of, we have changed or are trying to change.


who is "the Ho-chunk" there ricky boy that said it was OK? No body is saying to destroy the statue all together. I don't know how you redo a statue like that with different clothing without starting over.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.