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The 2016/2017 Winona Project


Update (July 2018)

Unveiled in the Spring of 2017

​An 18” bronze rendition of Winona was unveiled on June 29th, 2018 during an Art Exhibit at The Heritage Association’s art studio, Studio42 and is available to the public to purchase.


Hillsdale resident and artist Heather Tritchka had long dreamed of sculpting a statue of Winona, Potawatomi daughter of Chief Baw Beese, a figure that combines local legend with significant accounts of early Hillsdale County history. Heather brought together Dr. Dedra McDonald Birzer, who holds a doctorate in Comparative Women’s History and the history of the American West and is a professional historian, and Connie Sexton, who is a retired Chrysler-Jeep Training and Education Co-Ordinator for Skilled Trades and her involvement with several local organizations provide deep experience in organization, fundraising, bookkeeping, and leadership.

The legend of Winona, the Potawatomi Indian daughter of Chief Baw Beese, has captivated the historical imaginations of Hillsdale County residents since the 1830s. Winona’s name and snatches of her life story live on through the titles of the lake along Barber Drive and the Hillsdale College annual yearbook. She represents a significant chapter in Hillsdale’s early history. A life-size rendition of Winona resides at Mrs. Stock’s Park, Hillsdale, MI., she serves as a visual reference point for Hillsdale County.



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