BAYFIELD COUNTY — The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled the state’s first dual-language sign on Wednesday in Bayfield County. The DOT will be working with Native American groups throughout Wisconsin to update state highway signs on tribal borders with both English and tribal languages.
The Bayfield County sign was unveiled in partnership with the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, who are known in their native language as the Gaa-Miskwaabikaang.
Red Cliff Chairman Christopher Boyd was excited for the program.
“We are truly honored to be the first of the 11 federally recognized tribes in the state of Wisconsin to have the dual-language signs. They incorporate our language into state signage, and those signs will identify to the general public that travel our area they are entering the boundaries of our reservation,” Boyd said.
Several other states have a dual-language signage program with tribal groups already in place. The DOT has encouraged other federally recognized tribal communities in Wisconsin to apply for the program. For more information on the sign program, check out the DOT's website by clicking here.
Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson noted the importance of the signage.
“We are excited to work with our tribal partners on a project where everyday infrastructure such as traffic signs can have a dual purpose as an educational tool. Traffic signage is always about signifying a sense of place. In Wisconsin’s tribal communities, there is no more specific way to define where you are than in their native language used to define the landscape so long ago," Thompson said.