Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jennifer Shannon

Second Advisor

Kaifa Roland

Third Advisor

Carole McGranahan


For over 150 years, the city of Wisconsin Dells played host to tourists from all over the American Midwest. In the late 1990s and early 2000s it officially became rebranded as the "Waterpark Capital of the World." Before the indoor waterparks the tourism scene rested on the natural landscape, and with it, the Native American Ho-Chunk population and their displays of cultural performance. How has this influenced the Ho-Chunk Nation and Wisconsin Dells communities as they exist today? I argue that tourist spaces served as contact zones and Native gathering places that paved the way for future Ho-Chunk economic development and allowed for a shared history of interaction with non-Native locals. This had significant impacts on Ho-Chunk political sovereignty and the identity construction of non-Native local residents. This history is essential for understanding the current viewpoints of community members and the desire to bring back the Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial.