Shared History, Shared Future

Today we’ll consider our shared history and the future of the land that supports us all. Bruce Moffat will share the story of a parcel of land in southwestern Wisconsin – part of the Driftless Area – that came into his family’s care in 1838 at a time when European immigrants were in direct conflict with the native peoples who had inhabited and stewarded this area since time immemorial. He and his brother, Ben, are now imagining new collaborative uses for this land, with a longer and wider view. They are in the process of exploring the legal, financial, and governance mechanisms necessary to preserve and interpret the natural, indigenous, and European settler history of the farm known as Tippesaukee to make the property a true “living history” site honoring the history of the land and its peoples. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, due to the fact that the property essentially retains its mid-19th Century configuration. Five historic buildings house family archives, artifacts, furnishings, clothing, and farm implements. Archeological evidence indicates that both Meskwakie and Ho-Chunk peoples inhabited the site in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries respectively. However, to tell the complete story of Wisconsin history in the Driftless will require that both indigenous and European descendants tell their respective histories in their own voices. Bruce will also address the social justice dimension of this collaborative vision.

Bruce Moffat moved to Madison twenty years ago after working for a number of years in international conservation work, both in Washington, D.C. and Costa Rica. In Wisconsin, Bruce shifted to work in the social justice arena, while his wife, Nuria, worked as translator/interpreter in the Madison public schools. They are both “downshifting” professionally, focusing increasingly on creative and educational pursuits, as well as “sandwich generation” caregiving.

  • Our Share the Plate for July 30 and Aug. 6 will be the Ho-Chunk Housing and Community Development Agency. The nonprofit provides members with rental and down payment assistance for quality, affordable housing, and offers programs to meet the Ho-Chunk Nation’s social, cultural, and community needs. 

Share the Plate – click here to donate

Order of Service

  • Gathering Song: #188 “Come, Come, Whoever You Are”
  • Welcome
  • Prelude: “Somewhere in the Air,” Laura Zaerr
  • Call to Worship
  • Lighting the Chalice and Musical Response
  • Shared Music: Hymn #1023 “Building Bridges”
  • Time for All Ages: “Little Land” Diana Sudyka
  • Shared Music: Hymn #163 “For the Earth, Forever Turning”
  • Wisdom from the World’s Traditions: “Tippesaukee Symposium-Suzette LaMere”
  • Reflection: “Tippesaukee” with Bruce Moffat
  • Offering: “The Laughing Dove,” Laura Zaerr
  • Joys and Sorrows
  • Shared Music: Hymn #301 “Touch the Earth, Reach the Sky”
  • Extinguishing the Chalice and Benediction

Resources for Further Exploration

On October 16th, Rev. Kerry Parker from the Wisconsin Council of Churches will be with us and lead a special workshop on reparations. Watch your newsletter for more information.

Cross Currents: Symposium Proceedings – copy available in JRUUC library

The Driftless Reader – More than 80 writings from a variety of sources, published by UW Press

Documentary – The Rhythm of the River – Documentary [attempting to find link]

Documentary – Decoding the Driftless (PBS)

Book – Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer