Hocak Worak Year in Review

By Ken Luchterhand


Wisconsin tribes speak in favor of Assembly Bill 118

Tribal representatives from around the state testified at a public hearing in Madison this month, to express their support for Assembly Bill 118 (AB 118). 
The measure would afford greater protection to burial sites in Wisconsin. 
“We feel that AB 118 takes an important step towards ensuring that tribal remains are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” stated Chairman of the Forest County Potawatomi Harold Frank.  “We would (therefore) like to express our support in this bill.” 
Tribes such as the Forest County Potawatomi entered the discussion roughly two years ago, when Republicans introduced a bill that would have weakened protection of effigy mounds. 
The failed proposal was Assembly Bill 620 (AB 620). 

Wisconsin Dells football players named to the first team All-Conference

Two outstanding high school football players were recognized for their talents and efforts.
Adam Brown and Darius Mackinnis, both Ho-Chunk members, were recognized at a special athletic awards banquet in December.
The Wisconsin Dells High School seniors were named to the first team All-Conference honors in the South Central Conference in Wisconsin.
Brown in the son of Simone and Charles Brown. Darius is the son of Fran Williams and Paul MacKinnis.
Brown and Mackinnis were a part of the 44-player roster for WDHS. The team finished with a 3-5 record and went 2-3 in conference play.  

Ho-Chunk Nation asked to become a legacy sponsor of the Great Sauk State Trail

The Sauk County Board of Supervisors requested financial assistance from the Ho-Chunk Nation earlier this month, to help pay for the next part of the Great Sauk State Trail. 
Chair Marty Krueger presented the request at a Jan. 12 legislative meeting. 
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you this morning,” Krueger said.  “Many of you know that on Oct. 19, we officially opened (the first section) of this long-awaited trail.  Many people thought that it was impossible, and that it would never happen.” 

Greendeer plants seeds of healthy nutrition as Agriculture Division manager

Jessika Greendeer has taken her passion for horticulture and turned it into a blessing for the Ho-Chunk people.
Greendeer is the new Agriculture Division manager for the Ho-Chunk Nation, having started as a limited term employee in October, but then was promoted to the full term permanent position in December.
The Ho-Chunk Department of Agriculture was established with an act of the Ho-Chunk Legislature on Oct. 18, 2016, after an establishment resolution by Joyce Warner was introduced at the Sept. 19, 2015, General Council meeting.
Greendeer is from Baraboo, the daughter of Conroy Greendeer Sr., an elder who saw the need of organic gardening in communities. His advice and example were the impetus to her to become more interested in horticulture.

Ho-Chunk Nation moves forward with Tribal Action Plan to address the growing drug epidemic

Representatives from the Ho-Chunk Nation attended a meeting in Black River Falls this month, to discuss the Tribal Action Plan (TAP) that they have developed. 
The plan has outlined ways to address an ongoing drug problem. 
“Tribal Action Plans are something that the state of Wisconsin has with each of the tribes,” said Pharmacy Director Ted Hall.  “They assist with developing a strategic plan around prevention and treatment of drugs, and alcohol.” 
Ho-Chunk Nation developed its own plan last year, after several of its tribal members suffered fatal drug overdoses. 

La Crosse community debates on future of ‘Hiawatha’ statue

Further discussions of a Native American statute in Riverside Park in La Crosse are continuing, with a meeting about the issue on Thursday, Jan. 4, at the Ni Tani Hocira, or Three Rivers House, in La Crosse.
At the center of the debate is whether a 25-foot sculpture named “Hiawatha” should remain at the park or taken down, with residents speaking on either issue of the issue.
No formal move has been made to remove the statue, but the issue is continuing to draw further heated discussions.
The main question is whether the statue is degrading to the Ho-Chunk people, the original inhabitants of the area, or if it should remain as art or a historical landmark.

Native pride resonates through Menominee Nation Arena as Wisconsin Herd faces Grand Rapids Drive

Many Native Americans felt a sense of pride as they walked through Menominee Nation Arena last month, just a few weeks after the facility opened. 
“It’s a really proud moment for us,” said Menominee tribal member Tony Waupochick.  “Everyone talks about negative things, and the news always broadcasts negative things.  Well, this is a positive thing that we can be proud of.” 
For his tribe purchased naming rights to the Oshkosh arena in October, at which point it officially became the ‘Menominee Nation Arena’. 

Ho-Chunk Gaming Supports Polar Plunge again this year for the Special Olympics

On February 25th, Ho-Chunk Gaming Black River Falls (HCG-BRF) Slot Supervisor, Justin Jones will be participating in the Polar Plunge at Half Moon Beach in Eau Claire.  The Polar Plunge supports the Special Olympics of Wisconsin and there are 12 plunges done throughout Wisconsin in February and March each year.  The Special Olympics is celebrating its 50th year and the Polar Plunge has raised over $19 Million since 1999.

Flu makes first appearance at Ho-Chunk clinic

It’s that time of year – the sniffles and coughs are upon us, including the flu season.
Colds and flu usually appear this time of year, when people spend a majority of the time indoors, where people can spread whatever illness is going around.
More than 270 influenza-related hospitalizations in the state this week.  Both influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) made a large upswing in the past week.
The flu also has arrived at one Ho-Chunk health Care Clinic.
“We’ve had one confirmed case of flu at the Black River Falls clinic,” said Dr. Amy DeLong, MD, physician at the House of Wellness in Baraboo.


Besaw emphasizes need for natural resources protection in State of Tribes address

Former Menominee Tribal Chairman Gary Besaw offered a perspective on people's inaccurate conceptions of Native Americans, the need to protect the state natural resources, the need for recognition of tribal IDs, and charter school education.  
Besaw offered he annual State of the Tribes address on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at the Wisconsin State Capitol.
“We hope to use this opportunity to bring our communities and great state closer. We may not think of ourselves as neighbors, brothers, and sisters today, but just think back to a tragedy that had befallen America or Wisconsin. Let's remember the days after not the 9/11 tragedy,” Besaw said.
State senators talk about Assembly Bill 118 and the ongoing burial-sites preservation effort

Three state senators shared their thoughts on Assembly Bill 118 inside the capitol last month, following a meeting of the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy. 
If signed into law, the bill would increase protection of Wisconsin burial sites. 
“This is an important bill,” said Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay), who chairs the committee.  “It comes on the heels of another bill in the previous session which didn’t show the proper protection for burial sites.” 
The previous bill, Assembly Bill 620 (AB620) would have allowed landowners to bore into Native American effigy mounds so that they could challenge the existence of human remains. 

Ribbon cut for new hotel, opens its doors to more possibilities

A brand-new new hotel was unveiled to the public on Valentine’s Day.
After a year and a half of construction, a ribbon-cutting ceremony opened the 123-room Ho-Chunk Gaming – Black River Falls Hotel on Wednesday, Feb. 14.
Groundbreaking for the casino and hotel projects took place on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016.
The ceremony symbolizes the accomplishment of the construction of the five-story hotel along with the newly-opened expanded area in the casino, now holding an additional 400 gaming machines.
Ho-Chunk Gaming - BRF's Executive Manager Greg Garvin said it was the culmination of six years of planning and development. The casino is now employing nearly 400 people, an addition of 50 employees, and now has the potential to see up to 4,000 people each day.

Westminster Dog Show provides top challenge for Greendeer

The 142nd annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, televised nationally on Feb. 12th and 13th, is considered at the Super Bowl of all dog shows, and is also the second oldest sporting event in the country.
To achieve an invitation to compete in the prestigious event, you have to have one of the best dogs in the country, as well as one of the best handlers in the country.
Brittany Greendeer, daughter of Jon “Maasusga” Greendeer and Stacy Sieber, has achieved such an honor.
But getting there wasn't easy.  Brittany has been competing at shows throughout the country all year to be able to enter the show, held at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Koenig and the Drive return to Menominee Nation Arena, upsetting Wisconsin 102-78

The Grand Rapids Drive played their second game at Menominee Nation Arena this month, against the Wisconsin Herd. 
Once again, the visiting team would come out on top. 
“We’re just playing really well in this stretch right now,” said Grand Rapids head coach Ryan Krueger.  “We want to force our way into the playoffs, and winning games is the only thing that does that.” 
His team’s defense held the Herd to just 78 points – the least scored by an opponent all season.  The pressure placed on go-to players such as Marshall Plumlee and DJ Wilson simply proved too much for Wisconsin’s struggling offense. 

Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg Unveils 86-Room Hotel

On Monday, February 12, 2018, after months of anticipation, guests waited patiently to check in for an inviting and memorable lodging experience in the new luxurious 86-room hotel at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg.
The five floor hotel offers 77 elegant and spacious Standard Premium Rooms and nine Executive-Style Bay Suites accommodating guests on business and leisure. The hotel features an array of on-site Premier amenities including a High Definition Flat screen TV, a Keurig coffee/tea maker, refrigerator and a microwave. Guests are encouraged to utilize the in-room safe, complimentary high-speed Internet, the late check-out option and the hotel’s conference room for their next business meeting, luncheon, or celebration.

Lawsuits of General Council, Legislature take step forward against each other

Court action on General Council versus Legislature took a twist and turn on Thursday, Feb. 1, in Ho-Chunk Trial Court.
The two lawsuits were combined into one hearing in court, with Judge Mary Jo Hunter presiding.
Attorney Michael Murphy, representing the Ho-Chunk Legislature, argued that Attorney Daniel Finerty could not represent either General Council or Gerald Cleveland. In addition, Murphy argued that he did not have 10 days to provide a response to an amendment to the lawsuit against the Legislature.
One case, CV 1734, is Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature versus Gerald Cleveland, while the other case, CV 1735, is General Council versus Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature.

Gaming commissioners fined for violating Nation’s Code of Ethics

The Ho-Chunk Legislature enforced penalties against members of the gaming commission last month, following an investigation into whether the appointed officials had committed ethics violations. 
In the end, all of the commissioners received a $500 fine. 
The penalty proved less severe than that recommended by the Ethics Review Board (ERB), which had called for removal of the gaming commissioners. 
“The Respondents demonstrated that they are unfit to serve the Ho-Chunk Nation as public officials,” the board stated.  “We therefore recommend that the Legislature (remove) each of the Respondents from their positions on the Gaming Commission.” 

Edgewood College Gallery features Ho-Chunk artist

Edgewood College Gallery’s new exhibit, “Rove,” features Ho-Chunk artist Tom Jones. Jones’ collection titled, “Remnants,” appears with Terrance Campagna’s photography.
Fridays on the University of Wisconsin campus, at least this semester, art professor Tom Jones teaches a 5-hour long class. He said this way his class only meets once a week.
Jones arrives to an artists’ reception in his honor directly from his class. His niece and a nephew greet him even before he can take off his coat. Jones picks up and carries his niece, while the nephew wraps his arms around his uncle’s leg.
Jones is already having an enjoyable reception, and more family and friends are expected.

Doors open at Community Center with ribbon cutting ceremony

A new chapter has begun for opportunities of the Ho-Chunk people.
The new District 1 Community Center was unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 23.
The center, located in the new Wazee development near the Mission, is the new home to Youth Services, the Language Division, a sewing class, childcare, as well as community events and exercise facilities.
“This is the community’s center,” said HCN Public Relations Officer Colin Price. “So, if you want to check out this room, you can do that. If you want work out, better your health lifestyle, there’s an awesome facility over there.”
Pop up Museum sharing session held at Madison branch office

Tribal members gathered at the Madison branch office for two sessions of sharing stories, items, and a meal at a Pop up Museum sharing event hosted by the Ho-Chunk Nation Museum and Cultural Center, the Hoocak Waazijaci Language Division, and the Teejop area heritage center.
Ho-Chunk Nation Museum and Cultural Center Director Josie Lee explained the Pop up Museum style concept as a temporary exhibit created by the people who show up to participate.
“A Pop up Museum is a traveling, temporary exhibition that is completely community curated. They're typically created around a theme,” Lee said.

Whitetail Crossing cuts ties with Phillips 66

Whitetail Crossing has decided to stop purchasing fuel from Houston-based supplier Phillips 66, after years of paying a surcharge to sell the company’s name-brand gasoline. 
Like others in the industry, the station has opted to start selling unbranded fuel instead. 
“We’re not the first,” said Curtis Lavender, an engineer working in the Ho-Chunk Department of Business.  “Anyone that lives in a smaller town will notice that their local gas station – if it’s not already – is probably going to become unbranded.” 
Lavender said that it no longer makes sense to pay extra for what is essentially the same product, especially at a time when consumers are more concerned about the price of gas than the source. 

Flu epidemic ramping up, more cases reported at Ho-Chunk clinics

The influenza epidemic has been sweeping across the country and has hit Wisconsin, with new cases being confirmed daily.
“There have been 53 pediatric deaths nationwide so far this flu season, 17 in the last week alone,” said Jennifer Baird, MSN, RN, Infection Prevention and Employee Health nurse with the Ho-Chunk Nation. “Wisconsin is averaging almost 100 hospital admissions per day for influenza right now.”
There have been a lot more confirmed cases at Ho-Chunk clinics, mostly of influenza A, and a lot more unconfirmed cases as well – people just calling in and describing their symptoms and us advising them, said Dr. Amy DeLong, MD, physician at the House of Wellness in Baraboo.
“Stay home and call in. Don’t come in,” DeLong said.

Winter Camp 2018

On January 26, the Heritage Preservation Dept. hosted an evening of waika or winter stories. More than 70 people filled the cozy ciiporoke and listened to short tales from Ms. Josephine Lee and Mr. Gordon Thunder.
The following day, many gathered to visit Winter Camp 2018 behind the Ho-Chunk Nation’s Executive Office Building. A variety of featured crafts were demonstrated and explained as guests went from onlookers to full participants, pounding ash, scraping hides, singing songs, and playing games.
Heritage Preservation believes in building strong Ho-Chunk identities with inclusive events and encouraging atmosphere. A strong identity builds confidence that will carry well through school, work, and life. We appreciate all those who donate and volunteer their services or wisdom to each camp.
Ho-Chunks dance at Baraboo High School

Cultural awareness was the focus for a group of Ho-Chunks who danced at the Baraboo High School.
The high school gym was the site for the all school assembly that featured singers, dancers, and stories about the Ho-Chunk powwow culture.
Members of the Sanford White Eagle American Legion Post 556, Joe White Eagle Sr. and Paul Cloud, brought in the eagle staff and American flag to begin the dance program.
Evan Logan served as the event’s emcee.
He introduced the various dance styles as they performed their exhibition dances. He started with the Ho-Chunk appliqué dancers, followed by the men’s traditional, women’s fancy, and men’s fancy.


Sharice Davids throws her hat in the ring for Congress

Ho-Chunk member Sharice Davids recently announced her candidacy for a seat on the U.S. House of Representatives for the Third District in Kansas.
She is running as a Democrat against six other candidates. The primary election is set for Aug. 7, when the Democrat candidate will be selected for the Nov. 6 General Election.
It is her first experience in running for public office.
Sharice earned her Associate degree at Johnson County Community College, her Bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. From there, she attended and graduated from Cornell Law School.

Greendeer sworn in as first female commander of Post 129

United States Army veteran Jessika Greendeer etched her name in history as the first female commander of American Legion Post 129 in Black River Falls this month. 
She took the oath of office on March 14, during a swearing-in ceremony at the post building. 
“I solemnly pledge myself to perform faithfully and impartially the duties of the office of the American Legion I’m about to assume,” Greendeer said.  “I further pledge I am not a member and do not subscribe to the principles of any group opposed to our form of government.” 
With those words, Greendeer took the reins from the previous commander Donald Greengrass and embarked on her journey in the new role. 

Lieba Schwalbe rocks the rafters with her musical talent

On a rare occasion, someone comes along who is so gifted musically, it seems like that person can play any instrument and do so with grace.
Lieba Schwalbe can be considered a musical prodigy, having the ability to sing and play many musical instruments.
Lieba performed her repertoire at a spring organ concert on Sunday, March 18, at First Presbyterian Church in La Crosse. The church features a pipe organ, which sounds so much more majestic and deeper resonance.
Lieba, 16, is a sophomore at Logan High School in La Crosse. She is a member of the select choir and of an SATB acapella vocal group called Fermata Nowhere. She also runs on the school cross-country team.

Healthy Native Sports Summit reaches highest level of participation in three years

The Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Health held its annual sport summit in Baraboo this month, to educate community members about various types of physical activity. 
The event took place on March 8, a day before March Madness at the House of Wellness. 
“This is the third year in a row that they’ve done this summit,” said Amy DeLong, a primary-care physician at the facility.  “And this is the best-attended it’s ever been.” 
The summit featured more than 20 breakout sessions led by experienced industry professionals.  Topics included personal training, cardio fitness, water aerobics, Zumba, women’s self-defense, pregnancy health, and several others. 

Koenig’s team moves into playoff contention with win against number-one Westchester

The Grand Rapids Drive could be competing in this year’s playoffs thanks to an upset over the top team in the conference last weekend. 
They defeated the Westchester Knicks, in a March 17 matchup at home. 
“It was a good win,” said Drive coach Ryan Krueger.  “Those guys are a really good team.  They have the best record in the Eastern Conference for a reason.  They play extremely hard, and they defend at a high level.  But we just found a way to gut it out.” 

Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg Salutes Vietnam Veterans

March 29, 1973 marks forty-five years since the last combat troops departed Vietnam after a costly armed conflict. This March 29, 2018, Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg invites the community to observe a momentous Flag Raising Ceremony to commemorate Vietnam Veteran’s Day. The ceremony contributes to a national effort to acknowledge our service men and women who were denied a suitable homecoming.
Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg’s ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. The agenda includes a moment of silence for all fallen soldiers and their families; a 21-gun salute and the short, well-recognized melody better known as “Taps.”

Ho-Chunk Nation looks into supportive housing for tribal members

Members of Ho-Chunk’s Tribal Coordinating Committee toured supportive housing in Duluth last month, to learn the ins and outs of operating a successful safe house. 
They visited Gimaajii, owned and operated by the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO). 
The building opened in 2012, and serves as a home to people who might not have one otherwise.  As of last month, Gimaajii had more than 80 residents who were homeless prior to their arrival. 
“The only eligibility criteria is that (residents) have to be long-term homeless,” said Executive Director Michelle LeBeau.  “Our focus is Native Americans first.  But we also do fair housing, so anybody really can apply.” 

Legal briefs received on lawsuits involving Legislature and General Council

Briefings have been filed on Feb. 16 in Ho-Chunk Trial Court in the two cases of Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature vs. Gerald Cleveland (CV 1734), and General Council vs. Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature (CV 1735).
The two cases have been combined in Trial Court, even though they are two separate cases.
In the Legislature vs. Gerald Cleveland case, Legislature claims Cleveland overstepped his authority when he continued the Sept. 16, 2017 General Council meeting.
In the General Council vs. Legislature suit, General Council is suing Legislature for not acting on resolutions passed at the same meeting, contrary to directives to Legislature as defined in the Ho-Chunk Constitution.

Judge dismisses the declaratory case against President Cleveland

The judge in a declaratory case, Gary Funmaker vs Wilfrid Cleveland, has accepted the motion to dismiss the case, therefore not advancing to make a decision on whether Cleveland is a felon or not.
The conclusion was issued in a “Memorandum Decision” on Feb. 15.
Trempealeau County Circuit Court Judge Rian W, Radtke granted Cleveland’s request, basing his decision that the outcome does not have a direct impact on Funmaker and the fact that a decision would not have any teeth without a followup action by the Ho-Chunk Nation.
Funmaker requested a judge to determine whether President Wilfrid Cleveland was a felon based on a Feb. 7, 1972, incident.
Tomah residents talk to a community-rights expert about how to protect their environment

Concerned citizens attended a workshop in Tomah last month, to learn about the community-rights movement and ways that they might be able to get involved.
Leading the workshop was environmental activist Paul Cienfuegos. 
“The community-rights movement is basically a movement of people who are sick and tired of waiting for our government to protect our health and welfare,” Cienfuegos said.   “We have and can exercise our authority to govern ourselves.” 
Cienfuegos has visited various communities in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota over the last four years – educating residents about the way to secure their right to a safe and healthy environment. 
He brought his expertise to Tomah after the city’s residents expressed interest in his workshop. 

Ho-Chunk Nation collaborates with Wisconsin Judicare

For the past several years, Wisconsin Judicare has offered a Wills Caravan for Ho-Chunk Nation tribal members.  The collaboration has been wildly successful.  Judicare estimates that approximately 300 wills have been drafted for the benefit of the tribal membership.  Many individuals do not have a will.
Whether this is due to cultural beliefs, the fear of unreasonable attorney fees, or a lack of understanding, the lack of a will may cause consequences.  Mainly, the inability to distribute property or assets as the individual would have wished, or if the individual has children, the inability to have selected an appropriate guardian or guardians for his or her minor children.

Clarification and training on criminal jurisdiction

The Ho-Chunk Nation enacted its criminal code on May 5, 2015.  The Ho-Chunk Nation does not investigate or prosecute cases that occurred prior to that time.  The reasoning behind this position is simple: the acts were not a violation of Ho-Chunk Nation law, if committed prior to May 5, 2015.
Written laws provide the authority for positions promulgated by the Nation.  The Nation, including its police department and Department of Justice, would be acting outside of the scope of the law, if it were to address potential violations prior to the Nation’s criminal code enactment. 
Wisconsin Dells wins regional championship in basketball

The Wisconsin Dells boys’ basketball team won regionals at the WIAA tournament this year, after defeating the first two schools that they played against. 
Their first win came against West Salem in the regional semifinal. 
Wisconsin Dells ran a three-quarter-court press, wearing down their opponents early in the game.  Because of the constant pressure, West Salem made many bad decisions that led to turnovers.   
“The pressure from the press gives us a lot of transition opportunities,” said Coach Brad Rohling.  “We can take advantage of wearing teams down a little bit.  We’re all about getting deflections in our press, and making it tough on the other team.” 


Hammering, pounding, and sawing to transform Tribal Office Building’s roof and HVAC systems

Anyone working in or visiting the Tribal Office Building in Black River Falls can tell you big changes are happening.
The atrium has been walled off, limiting access to just construction workers. However, recently members of the Treasury Department have taken up residence in the center.
Before the Treasury Department moved in, chipboard panels were placed on the atrium floor to protect the tiles, and then panels were erected vertically around the perimeter, creating a tunnel effect for employees to walk around the outside edges.
The pounding and sawing commenced soon afterward, disassembling the light translucent panels on the roof and inside lighting and trim. Soon, a new roof and trusses were in place, making it suitable for occupancy by Treasury employees.

Finance Committee eliminates a reporter to create editorial board

The Finance Committee of the Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature has been voting to approve the departments’ fiscal year budget proposals in preparation for the upcoming budget cycle.
The Administration Department presented its budget to the Finance Committee on April 19 for their approval.
The Hocak Worak, currently situated under the Administration Department, presented its annual budget at this meeting.
The Finance Committee consists of all legislators as members. Reps. Andrea Estebo, Larry Walker, and Shelby Visintin were excused from this meeting.

Indian Mission church shares Ho-Chunk history

Tribal members have heard of the Indian Mission, but few know or take time to understand the history of the church at the center of it. The church was established in 1878.
The Ho-Chunk United Church of Christ is member of the Northwest Association of Wisconsin Conference. It’s the only Native American church in the conference.
At the Northwest Association’s 2018 annual meeting, a few Mission church members shared their views, observations and concerns to their fellow members.
Their Pastor David McBride, who said the church wanted to address “white privilege” questions, but thought it was better to invite the Ho-Chunk, introduced the Ho-Chunk tribal members.

Kolten Furey drains the net to help take his basketball team to state tournament

Kolten Furey helped his high school basketball team achieve more than it ever has before.
This is the first time the Hinckley-Finlayson boys’ basketball team ever went to the tournament. They competed for tops in their class on March 22, 23, and 24. Hinckley-Finlayson High School in Minnesota is a little more than 80 miles north of Minneapolis.
Kolten, 18, is a senior, a guard on the basketball team, and captain of the team. He is the son of Jason Furey and Leslie Behrens and his grandmother is Lois Behrens, the director of the 477 Program in the Ho-Chunk Nation Labor Department.

Ron Kind visits the Ho-Chunk Nation

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D- La Crosse) paid a visit to the Ho-Chunk Nation on Friday, April 20, to talk with issues and concerns with Nation representatives.
Kind and Congressional Aide Mark Aumann met with Ho-Chunk representatives President Wilfrid Cleveland, District 1 Legislature Rep. Hinu Smith, Veterans Service Officer Margaret Garvin, Agriculture Division Director Jessika Greendeer, Office of the President Public Relations Specialist Summer Reel, and Legislative Council Carolyn Garnett.
They met at the new District 1 Community Center, with Kind and Aumann receiving a tour of the facility after the meeting.

Emerald Ash Borer Hits Ho-Chunk Lands

A tree massacre is in full swing on Ho-Chunk lands.  It’s not a mob of axe wielding lumberjacks, it’s a swarm of green beetles of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) variety.  We have known that it was coming for years, now we are dealing with the death the little green beetle is dealing out.
First found in Detroit it has been spreading quickly ever since.  Over the past year, the HCN DNR has seen a steep increase in destruction and damage brought by EAB.  Black ash trees in the White Otter property are now almost all completely dead.  This winter the HCN DNR cut approximately 10 green and white ash trees in Ho-Chunk village.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month has been celebrated during the month of May in the United States since 1949. This year’s theme is Mental Health Month-Fitness
#4Mind4Body. This year, the Jackson County Department of Health & Human Services Behavioral Health Division has teamed up with Black River Memorial Hospital, Together for Jackson County Kids, and Jackson In Action to offer a variety of events and activities related to mental health and wellness. Jackson County Chairman, Ray Ransom, also signed a proclamation proclaiming the month of May as Mental Health Month in the county.

Rich Seubert Celebrity Trap Shoot raises 150,000 for charities

Ho-Chunk Gaming Nekoosa and Ho-Chunk Gaming Black River Falls partnered to be the Co-Presenting sponsor for the 10th annual Rich Seubert Celebrity Trap Shoot on April 14th. This was the third year the casinos sponsored, with the second year as Co-Presenting sponsor. The event is hosted by the Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation.  Rich Seubert, a retired New York Giants football player, started this event 11 years ago because he wanted to give back to the clinic after his grandmother received a heart transplant at Marshfield Clinic.
Ho-Chunk Gaming Nekoosa sponsors Neighborhood Table

On Tuesday April 17, 2018 Ho-Chunk Gaming Nekoosa sponsored a meal for the Neighborhood Table located at the United Methodist Church in Wisconsin Rapids, WI.  The Neighborhood Table is a nonprofit, charitable organization mostly staffed by volunteers who provide free meals to anyone in need in the communities of Wisconsin Rapids, Nekoosa, Port Edwards and surrounding areas in central Wisconsin. The mission of the Neighborhood Table, “Is to reduce hunger in our community, improve quality of life for our residents and create an awareness of needs that exist in our community.”
Ho-Chunk language students complete the division’s first-ever online course

Twelve students at the Hoocak Academy celebrated their successful completion of an online course last month, following several months of hard work and dedication to learning the Ho-Chunk language. 
They would become the first class of Online Pathway 1 graduates. 
The 12-week course consisted of eight units that the students could access at their own convenience, each exposing them to a different topic of conversation within the language. 
The units included “Ho-Chunk History;” “Alphabet/Positionals;” “Greetings & Giving Thanks;” “Personal Information;” “Kinship;” “Travel, Transportation, and Directions;” “Daily Life” and “People and Social.” 
Academy instructor Jerod Stacy facilitated the course. 

After 25 years at HCG-WD, Herrera turns to another chapter in her life

Patti Herrera has seen good times and bad times, times of both despair and jubilation during her nearly 25 years as an employee of the Ho-Chunk Nation.
She officially retired as marketing assistant for Public Relations at Ho-Chunk Gaming – Wisconsin Dells on April 6.  
“I have to respect anyone who has worked for the Nation for 25 years,” said HCG-WD Senior Manager of Public Relations David Abangan.  “Patti started on the frontline of marketing, just having arrived from out of state, and stayed in the Marketing Department, which I think is the best in the world. She then moved into the office and has done a remarkable job.”

Legislature enacts moratorium, waiting period on pay-grade increases

The Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature has placed a moratorium on any pay grade increases for employee job descriptions until Jan. 1, 2020.
In addition, the Legislature passed another resolution to create a “waiting period” on any pay grade increases for two years from its previous increase.
The Legislature approved the resolutions, 03-20-08I and 03-20-18K respectively, on March 20 at a regular Legislature meeting.
According to Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature Chief Communications Officer Lynette LeGarde, the move was because the Legislature was still getting requests to increase pay grades in job descriptions, well after the “Comp and Class,” (Compensation and Classification) process has been completed.

Grand Rapids makes playoff debut thanks to two Native athletes

The Grand Rapids Drive made their first appearance in the NBA G League Playoffs this season, thanks to the help of two Native Americans on the roster. 
One of them, forward Derek Willis averaged 12 points a game. 
This year was Willis’s first season in the pros and after the way he performed, likely not his last.  In addition to scoring in double figures, the rookie pulled in an average of seven rebounds.  That effort helped reduce turnovers, and gave Grand Rapids more opportunities to score. 
Willis suffered a bone bruise in his leg midway through the season, but was able to come back from the injury after a few weeks of recovery. 
Had he not gotten hurt, though, Willis probably would have led his team to even more wins this season. 

Ho-Chunk Nation pays homage to its Vietnam vets with flag raising ceremony

In observance of National Vietnam War Veterans Day, the Ho-Chunk Nation’s Division of Veteran Affairs held a flag-raising ceremony in Black River Falls last month. 
The event took place on March 29, at the new District 1 Community Center. 
As one of the tribe’s many drum groups performed the “Flag Song,” former service members raised the three flags flown in front of the building – one representing the United States, one the state of Wisconsin, and the other the Ho-Chunk Nation. 
Immediately following the flag raising was a 21-gun salute by American Legion Post 129 and a performance of “Taps,” played by Jackson County Veterans Service Officer Randy Bjerke. 
United States Navy vet Andy Thundercloud then addressed the crowd on behalf of the Nation.

Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg Honors Veterans

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky during Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg’s traditional Vietnam Veteran’s Day ceremony on Thursday, March 29, 2018. Attendees united from near and far to commemorate the service men and women for their sacrifices across our great nation. March 29, 1973 marks forty-five years since the last combat troops departed Vietnam after a costly armed conflict.
Each year, Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg is dedicated to observing the national holiday with a Flag Raising ceremony which contributes to a national effort to acknowledge the Vietnam Veterans who were denied a suitable homecoming.

Lesko advocates for veterans’ needs during Vietnam Veterans Day in Wisconsin Dells

Mark Lesko served three tours in Vietnam and now he wants to make sure veterans are given the respect and the rights they deserve.
Lesko was keynote speaker for the Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony Thursday, March 29, at Ho-Chunk Gaming – Wisconsin Dells.
Joseph WhiteEagle served as emcee for the event while the Wisconsin Dells Singers provided the music. WhiteEagle gifted Lesko with a Pendleton blanket, given by the Sanford WhiteEagle American Legion Post 556 in Wisconsin Dells.
“When we came back from Vietnam, we were not welcomed. When we got to the airport, we were told to change into civilian clothes because of protestors ready and waiting. People spat upon the veterans, threw rocks and feces at them,” Lesko said. “I wanted to rip some heads off.”

Ho-Chunk filmmaker lectures at UW-Madison

Ho-Chunk filmmaker Sky Hopinka gave a lecture at UW-Madison as part of the Center for the Humanities.
Hopinka was invited by Art Department for a visiting artist colloquium.
“I was asked by Rob Lundberg and Alex Lakind to speak as a part of their Terra Incognita series,” Hopinka said.
The event was well attended by UW art students at the Conrad A. Elvehjem Building on the UW campus on Wednesday, March 7 from 5 pm to 6:15 pm. The lecture was free and open to the public.
Hopinka is currently teaching film production classes at both the University of Illinois-Chicago and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“I’m an adjunct lecturer at both universities,” Hopinka said.
The transition from filmmaking to teaching has its difference, he said.

Ho-Chunk running for Miss Indian World

The 2018 Miss Indian World competition will be held in conjunction with the thirty-fifth annual Gathering of Nations powwow in Albuquerque, NM on April 26 to 28 at the Tingley Coliseum and Expo Center powwow grounds.
The five-day experience, April 24 through April 28, is held annually to crown the new Miss Indian World.
This year’s competition features 31 contestants from all across the United States and Canada, representing over 20 different native nations.


Grand re-opening of Wisconsin Dells casino, hotel observed with ribbon cutting

A re-grand opening celebration took place at the Ho-Chunk Gaming – Wisconsin Dells facility on Friday, May 11, marking the official end of the Project Forward plan and the opening of the renovated casino and hotel.
Approximately 100 people were present for the ceremony.
Senior Manager of Public Relations David Abangan was the emcee for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, with speakers Chief Clayton Winneshiek, Senior Marketing Manager Beth Anacker, President Wilfrid Cleveland, District II Rep. Kristin WhiteEagle, District III Rep. Kathy DeCamp, Business Executive Director Robert Mudd, elder Paul Cloud, and HCG-WD Casey Fitzpatrick.

Ho-Chunks gather at Red Banks for a reconciliation

Ho-Chunks gathered at Red Banks for a reconciliation of past injustices since Jean Nicolet first landed on the shore in 1634.
Since that time, waves of armies came through Ho-Chunk territory removing cultural identity and natural resources.
The ceremony was held at the Ho-Chunk Nation property near the Red Banks on May 4.
Joining the Ho-Chunk was Steven and Rene Springer, the co-founders of Global Presence Ministries from Madison.
Along with tribal members Sheridan Cloud, Pam Wilbur, and Traditional Chief Clayton Winneshiek, Springer organized the reconciliation ceremony.
Cloud met Springer at a Globel Presence Ministries event in Madison last October, where he was told of Springer’s vision.

Greengrass pinned with Purple Heart medal during birthday recognition

It was a surprise.
When Roy Greengrass walked into the new District 1 Community Center on Monday, May 21, he thought he was there to see his sisters.
At least that’s what his children told him.
To his astonishment, the gymnasium was full of people, ready to witness the presentation of his Purple Heart medal and to join in the celebration of his birthday.
Greengrass served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a lance corporal during the Vietnam War and was wounded in action.
"I served one year, six months and 10 days. I used to be a ‘tunnel rat,’" Greengrass said. "Then I got wounded and they sent me home."
He received a Purple Heart medal but then gave it to his mother.
Several decades later, he remembered his medal, but it was nowhere to be found.

Ho-Chunk cultural site visited by high school students

Our First Nations Studies students spent last Wednesday morning hiking at Silver Mound. Silver Mound is 12 miles northwest of Black River and has a fascinating ancient history. The area was a quarry of sorts and archaeologists have been doing field work there for a long time.
Ancestors of the native people of our region, as well as native people from many other parts of the country, came to Silver Mound because of the particular rock that was present that was especially good for the various tools needed for their day to day survival. We were able to see the Dwyer Rockshelter and also some of the rock art left by indigenous people.

Lovesee departs HHCDA amidst many hugs and tears

Sandy Lovesee was planning to slip away. She didn’t want anyone to notice as she headed out the door.
She didn’t want anyone to make a big deal out of her retirement, having worked at Ho-Chunk Housing and Community Development (HHCDA) for nearly 20 years.
However, what she wanted didn’t matter.
The staff and committee members were not going to allow her to go without a proper goodbye. They had come to know her throughout the years of working with her and her constant care and help couldn’t go without some recognition.
A surprise retirement party was held for her on Thursday, May 10, at the HHCDA office.

New portal to help students with higher education applications

A new website portal will make things easier for students.
Higher Education Division Manager Marcus Lewis and Computer Programmer Sam Bristol have been working together to produce the new tool to help students, both young and adults, to help advance their educations.
The Ho-Chunk Nation Higher Education Department will launch the new portal on July 1.
“The portal is designed to keep each person’s profile on file in a very secure manner. The profile will allow faster access to essential information and maintain a record of all applications and grants,” Lewis said.
The process of developing the portal started a little over a year ago. 

Sandpillow Head Start celebrates another successful school year

The Puzaki Pei Cinak Head Start held its graduation ceremony in Black River Falls this month, to recognize the dozen or so students who have now completed the two-year program. 
Commencement took place May 11, at the new District 1 Community Center. 
“This is our end-of-the-year celebration,” said Center Director Gina WhiteEagle.  “We always celebrate the last day of the school year.  Some of the children will be going into kindergarten next year, so we hold a graduation for them.” 
Graduates donned the customary caps and gowns before walking across the stage to receive their certificates, and shaking hands with all the instructors. 

Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg Contributes to State’s Adopt-A-Highway Program

On Monday, May 14, 2018, Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg volunteers sprung into action to retrieve and dispose of trash accumulated along Highway 29 in support of the Adopt-A-Highway Program. From Killdeer Road to Highway 45, volunteers were out in full force for
2.5 hours as they scanned the designated combined two-mile stretch on a mission to protect Mother Earth.
The nationwide effort, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the Adopt-A-Highway Program, supports tourism, preserves Shawano County’s picturesque beauty and practices responsible environmental stewardship. A total of 24 bags of trash was collected during the humid, yet sunny outing.

Upper Dells Boardroom dedicated to ‘Notch’ Funmaker

Jones R. Funmaker Sr., better known as “Notch,” will be remembered for his dedication to the Ho-Chunk Gaming – Wisconsin Dells facility.
More so, he will be remembered by friends and family for his sense of humor and a strong belief in family.
Notch was memorialized with a room dedication on Friday, May 4, with the Upper Dells Boardroom.
A room dedication plaque was on display, with “Jones R. Funmaker Jr., ‘Notch,’ Hoonch – Cho, February 10, 1966 – March 31, 2017,” inscribed on it.
Carson Funmaker, brother to Notch, lead the dedication ceremony.
James Menore, also known as “Coco,” said that plans were to name the Upper Dells Ballroom in Notch’s honor, however, the ceremony was put on hold just a couple days before it was to happen.
“He was always in the director’s seat. He was fun. A couple months after he passed, I talked to the family about some type of memorial to Notch,” Menore said. “I worked with Notch since ground zero,” he said. “A long time.”
Several family members said how he was dedicated to the casino and hotel.
“He liked this place thoroughly,” Eleanor Funmaker said. “He put his blood, sweat, and tears into it.”

School mural created to emphasize the inclusion of all people

Two murals have been created by art students at Jack Young Middle School in Baraboo with a donation of $500 by the Ho-Chunk Nation.
One of the murals emphasized unity across all races and cultures.
“The two school murals have been completed and have been hung in the main entrance and hallway of Jack Young Middle School,” said art teacher Tim Znidarsich. “They look fantastic.  Come check it out.”
The money from the Ho-Chunk Nation paid for four 4 x 8 ft. sheets of plywood for the murals, a lot of paint and brushes, drop cloths, and for polyurethane, which seals the mural and protects it from damage. 

Chess whiz Detric Anderson takes second at Necedah tournament

World-famous chess champion Bobby Fisher started strategizing his moves at an early age.
Similarly, Detric Anderson has begun his ambitions as a chess prodigy.
Detric recently won second place in the Necedah 2018 Spring Chess Tournament for students in third to fifth grade.
“He learned to play when he was 7. His dad taught him to play,” said his mother, Kristin Hernandez. “He loves chess.”
He is a fifth-grade student at Grayside Elementary School within the Mauston School District.
Detric’s father is Nathan Anderson. He has two younger sisters, Arrie, 8, and Aveigh, 1.

Newly-formed club, Indigenous Students United, to help students with culturally-sensitive issues

Destina Warner and Lorraine Reyes wanted to do something good for other indigenous students at Baraboo High School. They wanted to address some of the issues and problems that are distinctive to the indigenous culture.
So, they began to plan to gather the indigenous students and form a club that will provide the information and support they need.
The new group, Indigenous Students United, formed about a month ago, currently has about 30 students.
“The name of our Native American organization originally began as ‘N.A.S.A.’ (Native American Student Association),” Warner said. “When recreating a similar organization to the one that had previously existed, I had asked the rest of the club members what they thought of the name and if anybody wanted to make different suggestions.”

Hocak Worak wins multiple awards at 2017 Better Newspaper Contest

The Hocak Worak received three awards from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association last month, in recognition of the high-quality journalism it has produced since late 2016. 
Staff members accepted the awards on Apr. 13, at an awards banquet in Madison. 
“Each award is meaningful considering the longevity of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association,” said Editor Marlon WhiteEagle.  “The association has been around since 1853, and to be recognized by them is quite an honor.” 
Reporter Ken Luchterhand won first place in the category of Investigate Reporting, for a 2017 article he wrote about the conviction status of Ho-Chunk Nation President Wilfrid Cleveland. 
WhiteEagle said he is proud of the veteran reporter, considering all the obstacles he faced in covering the story. 


Ho-Chunk’s top scholars travel to South Dakota during end-of-the-year incentive trip

Eleven middle school and high school students received a free trip to South Dakota this month, thanks to an incentive program sponsored by the Division of Youth Services in Tomah. 
The five-day outing would serve as a reward for their performance in the classroom. 
“It’s just an incentive for the kids in our program,” said Tomah Youth Coordinator Leland Bird.  “Not many centers do this kind of thing.  But we try to be different than the other centers, and do our own thing.” 
Stops included Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, Mt. Rushmore Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, Cosmos Mystery Area, Bear Country USA and the SPAM museum. 
Each would offer a glimpse into our nation’s history that the students otherwise might not get. 

Comfort takes position as American Indian Nation Liaison at Wisconsin Historical Society

Rebecca Comfort recently began her new duties as the American Indian Nation Liaison at the Wisconsin Historical Society, housed on the University of Wisconsin - Madison campus.
“The American Indian Nation Liaison's position is responsible for maintaining and fostering relationships between the 12 American Indian nations of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Historical Society, particularly as it relates to the new Wisconsin history museum that's in the works,” Comfort said.
Comfort is an enrolled member of the Keweenaw Bay Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe and is currently serving as the first American Indian Nation Liaison for the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Cori Blaschke honored with national Chairman’s Leadership Award

With an approving boom of thunder, Cori Blaschke received her award, knowing that her ancestors were there, with her, supporting her.
Blaschke was on stage at the time, receiving the Chairman’s Leadership Award at the Wisconsin Gaming Regulator Association’s conference on June 15, 2018.
“When Chairman Ernie Stevens said something about the thunderclap, I informed him my Ho-Chunk name is Wakajaguiga, which means ‘Coming Thunder.’ It was so fitting,” Cori said.
The convention was held June 13-15 at the Mohican North Star Casino in Bowler, Wisconsin.
“Cori was nominated because of her professional and active participation in all matter related to her responsibility as a regulator and her role with the regulatory association. Her nomination reflected upon her active and responsible representation of the industry,” Stevens said.

A new rental for Minneapolis

The Ho-Chunk Nation will have new rental units available for tribal members by July 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature, HHCDA, Ho-Chunk Nation Housing Department, the American Indian Community Development Corporation and Smart Homes/Dynamic Homes collaborated to create the duplex. The land for the property was donated by the American Indian Community Development Corporation located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 
This project began in October 2017.  There was hope to get the rental unit finished by December 2017.  The weather and other challenges pushed the completion date back from the original date intended. HHCDA worked with Dynamic Homes out of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota which is owned by Ho-Chunk Incorporated, which is owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.  

Youth learn about culture and tradition at annual summer camp

Teens from all over Wisconsin gathered in Black River Falls for the annual Youth Culture Camp from June 18–22.
The theme this year was “Living Good Together.” Approximately 70 youth attended the camp this year.
For five days, Ho-Chunk youth gathered to learn more about their culture and heritage. The majority of the culture sessions were held at the new District 1 Community Center with many of the outdoor hands-on activities held at the Powwow Grounds.
One of the participants, Aaron Day from Wisconsin Dells, thought it was great.
“I thought it was good. There were a lot of good things, yet there are a lot more to be taught. It’s great that they kept us active and not on our phones.”

Family Enrichment and Wellness Retreat inspires healthy life habits

The Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Education - School Community Relations, the Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Social Services - Division of Community Supportive Services, and Division of Child and Family Services, recently collaborated to put on the first annual Ho-Chunk Nation Family Enrichment and Wellness Retreat on June 13, 14, and 15, 2018. 
This inaugural event was held at Champions Riverside Resort in Galesville, Wisconsin, with one hundred families participating in the events planned.  Many of the participating families elected to brave the great outdoors and camp during the event!

Alex Kivimaki celebrates medical school graduation, heads for Seattle

Becoming a doctor isn’t easy.
Not only do prospective students have to endure a grueling and difficult education process, but also they have to work tirelessly during residency.
Knowing that, Alex Kivimaki still pursued the career, concluding it was the right thing for him.
Alex graduated from UW-Madison Medical School on May 11. The medical school held a ceremony that morning for the students, and then had a ceremony for family that afternoon at the Kohl Center.
He now is heading for the Seattle area to work for his residency. He left Madison on June 4 and starts in Seattle on June 12.
“To call me doctor – it hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said.

Moccasin making offers the spirit of walking a path for the future

Moccasins are soft leather slippers or shoes, without a separate heel, having the sole turned up on all sides and sewn to the upper in a simple gathered seam.
That’s the literal definition.
However, moccasins take on a much bigger role when they play a role in the gathering of people to heal and to forge the path ahead for a better tomorrow.
Leaders and clients from Vocational Rehabilitation for Native Americans (VRNA), Ho-Chunk Life Skills, The Ho-Chunk Family Court, and the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), gathered on Tuesday, June 5, at the VRNA office in Black River Falls to make moccasins.

Wainisguni Hikurus Hajawi 5K Run/Walk Has Big Turnout

The 8th Annual Wainaisguni Hikurus Hajawi 5K Run/Walk was held at Lake Phalen in Minnesota on May 24, 2018.  There were 645 people from 40 tribal affiliations that registered for the run/walk.  There were close to 500 participants on the actual race day.  The event was organized by Danielle Delong. 
 The 5K has been occurring annually since 2011 which began as a diabetes education event.  There were 47 participants at the first event.  When the Ho-Chunk Nation had a health and wellness initiative Ms. Delong approached the Legislature for a donation for the 5K and the event was opened up to other tribes.  The event has been growing in popularity each year.


Ho-Chunk Gaming - Wittenberg dazzles guests with elaborate grand opening

After twenty-one months of construction, Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg hailed the opening of their major 33-million-dollar Project Forward expansion on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg was one of three Ho-Chunk Gaming establishments aboard the $153 million dollar casino expansion project.
Project Forward has contributed to establishing nearly 90 permanent employment opportunities, aiding in boosting tourism throughout Wittenberg and Shawano County and providing additional amenities and services for guests visiting on business and leisure. The first phase of Project Forward consisted of the creation of a tasteful, contemporary 86-room hotel and a non-smoking gaming room; renovations to the building exterior, an expansion of the existing gaming floor, the construction of the 3-meal River’s Edge Restaurant and a Porte Cochere.

Native Journalists gather in Miami to examine uncertain future in media

In recent times, the media has been under attack.
Those attacks were the subjects of the 2018 Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) Conference, held July 18 -21 at the InterContinenal Hotel in downtown Miami, Florida.
With social media and other electronic sources, journalism has more competition than ever. Also, the media’s credibility has been under attack for some time, lending to a popular phrase of “fake media.” Journalists around the world have been attacked and imprisoned to prevent the truth from being reported to the public.

NAJA combined forces with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAQHJ) for sessions that concern professionals in the fields of print, television, radio and electronic media. 
Reporter Ken Luchterhand from the Hocak Worak attended and represented the Ho-Chunk Nation at the event.

Ho-Chunk Nation Higher Education Division updates processes and adjusts policy

New and exciting changes for Ho-Chunk college students are happening within the Higher Education Division.  The Ho-Chunk Nation Higher Education Division has updated a few processes to meet and adjusted their Funding Policy to meet changing needs of Ho-Chunk college students.
On Monday, July 9, 2018 the Higher Education Division launched its new online student portal. The new platform developed by Sam Bristol from Informational Technology enables Ho-Chunk scholarship applicants to manage their information and upload required documents online.  Ho-Chunk college students also have access to Higher Education Division’s support programs via this platform.

Ria tells of her love for dance, native perceptions in ‘Glamour’ magazine

Ria Thundercloud recently gained national and international attention for her expressive style of dance.
A feature article on Ria was published in the June/July issue of Glamour magazine, a magazine that highlights women’s fashion and beauty.
The article tells about her love of dance and her dedication to portraying Native Americans accurately in the media.
Ria, 27, is the daughter of Roger Thundercloud and Jessica Bearskin. She has a daughter, Cyra Thundercloud, who just turned 3.

This year was a great year for Cherelle, 2017-2018 Karner Blue Butterfly Princess

Cherelle Gunderson had so much fun representing Black River Falls this past year. During her farewell speech, she thanked the Black River Falls Downtown Association for sponsoring the Karner Blue Princess program. She thanked Emily and Chris Stewart for their hard work in being representatives for Karner Blue (they set up the parades and everything else), Deb and John Marg for making the sashes, and M&M Sports for making their signs.
She also said in her farewell speech that her favorite memories was meeting Miss Wisconsin at Cranfest. During Cranfest she also had a broken ankle, however, she still attended every parade and event.  At the end of each event or parade she would often get tired of walking with her crutches, so her dad would carry her back to her float.

Ho-Chunk Member Killed In Action 'Never Forgotten'

16 August 2018 marks 50 years ago that my brother, Elliott L. DeCora was killed in combat, giving all on the battlefield in Vietnam. He was the only Wisconsin enrolled Ho-Chunk member to be killed in combat action in the Vietnam War.
In military terms, he was “Killed In Action” (KIA), which resulted in my family being designated a “Gold Star Family.” Elliott’s immediate family members include: Father, Herman Decorah WWII (1912-1952), Mother, Elvina (Hopinkah) DeCora a.k.a. Alvina Decorah (1915-1995), and siblings: Shirley Lonetree, Cleo Mountain, Pearl Mrotek, Elwood DeCora (USMC Vietnam 66-67, Desert Shield/Storm in the Gulf with DOD),Tennyson DeCora, Nora Pemberton, half-brother: Kirk Hopinka. Elvina DeCora legally adopted her oldest granddaughter: Alana DeCora-Ayesh.

Sharice Davids' new TV ad focuses on life story

Sharice Davids, front runner for the Democratic nomination in Kansas’ Third District Congressional race, has released her a new television ad.
The 30-second spot, which began airing on both cable and broadcast networks today, focuses on Davids’ inspiring life story. From Johnson County Community College to Cornell Law School. From a waitress to the Obama White House. Davids has overcome significant odds to sit at the highest levels of our federal government.

8th Annual Financial Frenzy offers students real-life scenarios

The 8th Annual Financial Frenzy event took place Thursday, June 28th, 2018 at District 1 Community Center in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.  Middle and high school students were offered real life scenarios on how to manage their trust fund money.  Registered participants totaled 62 youth and 27 adults. 
Victoria Houghton from First Financial Credit Union referenced planning documents when saying, “The goal of the game is to have a better understanding of making life choices, the outcomes those choices bring, along with consequences that are both positive and negative.” She further explained, “The game takes youth into the world of work, military, education, or even to see what the obstacles might be if they choose to stay home and live off trust fund or per cap.

Annual canoe journey floats cares away downstream

The 17th annual canoe trip, sponsored by the Health and Wellness team of the Ho-Chunk Health Department, gave the perfect opportunity for a little “ah” at the end of the week.
The weather was beautiful – not too hot, not too cold – and just right for a float down the river.
The trip was available to all Ho-Chunk employees and their families.
The group participating in the trip, about 60 of them, began the adventure by gathering at the lower shelter at the Wildcat Mountain State Park near Ontario, Wisconsin.
“The purpose of the canoe trip is to encourage members to stay active in different ways. This is a little easier to do as a family, other than the typical gym exercise equipment,” said Exercise Physiologist Chris Fredricks.
The river is something that they may have never tried before, he said.

Kuno uses his barber creativity and talent to bring smiles to his customers

Kuno Starnes has been through a lot in his life. He’s faced a lot of adversity, including severe injury, an addiction to drugs, and jail time. To escape all those negative incidents and come out on top took a lot of willpower and determination.
Opening his own barbershop business, Kuno is now celebrating a new life.
“I’m so happy. It’s what I’ve been waiting for. It’s a dream finally become a reality,” he said.
Although he has achieved a lot with his new business, it didn’t come without help from his family. One of those people was his sister, Brenda Neff, who provided a lot of encouragement and suggestions.
“It’s been a long time in coming,” Brenda said.

Ho-Chunk Nation presents Rep. Amy Loudenbeck with Impact Award

Ho-Chunk Nation President Wilfrid Cleveland presented state Representative Amy Loudenbeck with the Impact Award at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 8, 2018, at the Neesh La Pow Wow at the Neesh La Pow Wow Grounds, E10793 N. Reedsburg Road, Baraboo, Wisconsin.
Ho-Chunk Nation Representatives that were in attendance for the presentation was Representative Shelby Visintin, Representative Kristin WhiteEagle, Representative Kathy DeCamp and Representative Karena Thundercloud.
Representative Loudenbeck was the chair for the Study Committee on the Preservation of Burial Sites and had assisted with the efforts of passing Assembly Bill 118, which passed in both the Assembly and the Senate.  Governor Scott Walker wrote it into law on April 3, 2018.

First Nations Community Financial holds open house

On June 20, First Nations Community Financial (FNCF) held an open house to introduce their new Fresh Start Loan. A similar product that this replaced was the Credit Repair Loan.
“Clients have requested a need to get their credit cleaned up with higher lending amounts at a lower cost. We listened and produced the Fresh Start Loan,” said Senior Finance Officer Francesca J. Bird.
“It was a great sunny day to have a cook out for our existing and, hopefully, upcoming customers to help put them into a greater financial position to fulfill their dreams,” she said.

Employee Appreciation Day provides a day to talk, play, win, and sweat

The annual Ho-Chunk Nation Employee Appreciation Day was held on Friday, June 29, at the Ho-Chunk RV Resort Campground near Lyndon Station.
Despite the temperatures soaring to 98 degrees, many Ho-Chunk government employees arrived to enjoy games, a meal and talking with each other.
The game drawing the most attention was bingo, although other games, such as horseshoes, volleyball, and canoe races, also was held.
Exhibit features memories of Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial

The Little Eagle Arts Foundation (LEAF) and the Native Presence Gallery, Wisconsin Dells, will be presenting an exhibit on the Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial this summer, “Remembering Stand Rock.”
LEAF’s Native Presence Gallery at 412 ½ Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, will host an opening reception for the show from 3 to 7 p.m. on July 20.
The Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial was held at the Stand Rock amphitheater on the Wisconsin River in the Wisconsin Dells area from 1929 until 1997. The ceremonial featured the dances of the Ho-Chunk
who made their home in the Dells area and dancers from other Native American tribes.


Elliot DeCora remembered after 50 years, honored with flag-raising ceremony

Kirk DeCora Hopinka remembers the day he found out his older brother, Elliot, had died in Vietnam.
“I remember it like it was a couple years ago,” Kirk said. “It was so surreal. It was a hot August day and I saw that two uniformed men had parked down the street and were walking toward our house. They told my mother that he had been killed. It opened a floodgate of pain.”
A special memorial flag-raising ceremony at the Ho-Chunk Nation Tribal Office Building was held on Elliot’s behalf, marking the 50th anniversary of his death. He was killed on Aug. 16, 1968, during a battle.
Participating in the event included many area American Legion Posts, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Marine Corps League. Traditional Chief Clayton Winneshiek spoke about honor and duty before the meal and Gordon Thunder gave a prayer.

Smoke-free anniversary observance held: Business booming at HCG – Madison following smoking ban three years ago

Three years ago, Ho-Chunk Nation officials gambled by making the decision to ban smoking at the Ho-Chunk Gaming – Madison facility.
That decision was a winner, according to Executive Manager Dan Brown.
The three-year anniversary of the smoke-free resolution was observed on Friday, Aug. 17, with a special ceremony just outside the casino in a tent erected for the occasion.  The Native American Tourism of Wisconsin was host for the event
“I’m here to report to you today that this is a highly successful decision,” Brown said. “It’s working. Our players are staying longer and they’re playing more. Then, the patron count started to take off,” Brown said.

Health Dept. Employee Satisfaction Survey Committee addresses employee concerns to improve morale

The Ho-Chunk Department of Health is taking steps to improving its efficiency and ability to work in unison. 
“Employee satisfaction is an important initiative.  If our staff members are happy in their workplace they are able to deliver high-quality patient care and customer service,” said Quality Improvement Director Daniel Libke.
A group of representatives from each division within the Health Department have been meeting to devise a plan to make working with the health field a more productive and pleasant experience.
QI Compliance Officer Ritchie Brown placed a questionnaire for employees on Survey Monkey to start the employee recognition initiative.
Twelve Clans, Inc. invests in innovative fund

The board of directors of Twelve Clans, Inc., the Ho-Chunk Nation’s section 17 corporation, made an important investment in Search Fund Partners (SFP), a Menlo Park, California-based private equity fund focused on well-managed companies with a history of profit and significant growth potential.  “SPF invests in small, profitable companies with $5 million to $30 million in revenue,” shared Jay Calhoun, Investment Committee chairman for the Twelve Clans, Inc. board.  “They work with entrepreneurs to find, acquire and build successful businesses, which fits perfectly with our goal to find co-investment opportunities with our fund manager partners.”

Natural resources provide knowledge, outdoor training to youth

Chris Shawley, Austin Potter, Silas Cleveland, Isaac Lowe, and Geoffrey Garvin had a few tales to tell about their experiences working for the Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Those stories were told at an end-of-season wrap-up on Thursday, July 26, at Perry Creek Park near Black River Falls.
The youth offered a PowerPoint presentation to all people in attendance, including parents, siblings, friends, and DNR staff. Each of the youth workers took turns to explain their experiences as each toggled through the presentation.
“It was a true pleasure working with the DNR summer youth workers throughout the last six weeks,” said Ho-Chunk Nation DNR Land Management Division Manager Russ Hunter.

Sharice Davids wins primary for Kansas congress

Sharice Davids for Congress released the following statement on Sharice's victory in Kansas' 3rd Congressional District primary on Aug. 7.
"I am honored and deeply motivated by the support I received from across this district," said Sharice Davids. "Thank you to my fellow Democrats in this race for their passion and for engaging in a spirited and important debate about the future of this district and this country. To my supporters: you knocked on doors, made phone calls, donated what you could, and got your friends, neighbors, and family members to the polls.”

Ho-Chunk community leaders gather for indigenous solutions in the justice system

Peacemaking is never an easy task.
Usually there are a lot of emotions involved, a lot of anger, hurt feelings, and bitter resentment. That why it’s important to mend those bridges between the two parties before it’s too late.
Community leaders took part in a two-day “Introduction to Peace Circles,” part of an international Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative, on July 30-31 at the District 1 Community Center.
Ho-Chunk Nation Chief Judge Jo Deen Lowe and Associate Judge Joanne Jones were responsible for organizing the sessions.

Six Health & Community Building Campuses go tobacco-free and nicotine-free effective September

A resolution passed by the Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature on August 7, 2018 restricts the use of commercial tobacco and nicotine products at six different health and community building campuses.  The objective is to promote wellness for community members and staff.  The District 1 Community Center, Madison Community Center, House of Wellness, Green Bay Community Center, Siga Funmaker Community Building, and the Executive Campus (Tribal Office Building and Ho-Chunk Health Care Center areas) have established commercial tobacco-free and nicotine-free environments.
 Smoking shelters are available for community members and staff at these six campuses.  These shelters are the only designated smoking areas.

Candidates with Ho-Chunk connections participate in August elections

Four candidates with Ho-Chunk connections recently made their efforts to the polls in August.
Ho-Chunk member Sharice Davids won in the Democratic primary on Aug. 7 for Kansas’ Third Congressional District. She will be running against the Incumbent Republican candidate Kevin Yoder on Nov. 6.
Ho-Chunk member Arvina Martin was on the Aug. 14 ballot in Wisconsin, running for the Democratic position for Secretary of State. She was defeated, with her opponent, Doug La Follette receiving 326,618 votes and Martin receiving 168,755 votes.
Ho-Chunk member Cari Fay ran unopposed for the Democratic ticket in the Aug. 14 primary. She’s running for State Assembly in District 70 in Wisconsin. She will face her opponent, incumbent Republican Nancy VanderMeer.

Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Health works with Community and Partners to improve Health and achieve Public Health Accreditation

To identify health concerns among the population and update their Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), Department of Health staff are seeking the assistance of community members and public health partners.
On Wednesday, July 25, a public meeting was held at the Skyline Golf Course in Black River Falls in an effort to gather that needed community feedback. About 45 people were in attendance.
“The reason behind the effort is to engage community members, coalition members, community partners, and Ho-Chunk leadership in public health efforts to improve the community’s health,” said Environmental Health Program Manager Pam Thunder..


General Council examines nature rights, housing, trust fund, Christmas bonus

Eight resolutions were introduced to be voted upon at the 2018 General Council session at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay.
However, only six of the eight resolutions were voted upon. The first resolution was said to be a matter for the courts to decide and the last resolution was discarded because the primary person who introduced the resolution was removed from the building by Bear Clan security.
A quorum of 1,217 was reached at 11:35 a.m., therefore allowing the meeting to begin. Three people were nominated for chairman: Matt Mann, Gerald Cleveland, and Wilfrid Cleveland. Mann received the most votes, therefore elected as chairman for the meeting.

Ho-Chunk Nation Housing Development Ground Breaking in the Baraboo/Wisconsin Dells area

On Thursday, September 13, 2018, a ground-breaking ceremony was conducted for the construction of six duplexes, totaling 12 new rental units for the Baraboo/Wisconsin Dells area.  The construction site is on the new Giebel Court Road, off from Fern Dell Road.
Neil Whitegull, Director at Ho-Chunk Housing and Community Development Agency (HHCDA), was the emcee for the event.  He asked Paul Cloud to say some invocation.  Mr. Cloud spoke a few words regarding the land and hunting on the land.  He thanked the planning committee and all those that worked to get this project where it is today.
Otoe - Missouria Relatives express their appreciation and sentiments of kinship with the Ho-Chunk Nation

Ho-Chunk Nation and approximately 60 Otoe-Missouria relatives from Oklahoma celebrated a homecoming during the Labor Day Pow-wow in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.  The tribes were once banded together in the Great Lakes region of the United States and are related in custom and culture.  They were separated in the mid-19th century.
The homecoming itinerary started Thursday, August 30, 2018 with the relatives arriving at Ho-Chunk Gaming - Black River Falls and concluded Monday, September 3, 2018.  There was a meet and greet at the Ho-Chunk Nation Executive Offices on Friday morning.  The relatives were given a tour of the building by Executive Director of Administration John Steindorf.

Three Ho-Chunk Marine recruits set off for basic training

Three Ho-Chunk young adults recently left for their basic training with the U.S. Marine Corps.
Stephen Redbird, Jeriah Rave Jr., and TreVonna Rave have made their way to basic training, all 2018 graduates of Black River Falls High School.
All of the recruits met once a month for a year for physical fitness training while they were in high school.
They are considered recruits but will become a Marine upon graduation from training. Stephen is planned to graduate on Dec. 6, Jeriah on Nov. 6, and TreVonna on Nov. 16.
Jeriah Rave Jr. enlisted in 2017 when he was a junior in high school. He is the son of Jeriah Sr. and Erin Rave.

WPBA Signature Tour Stop at Ho-Chunk Gaming - Wisconsin Dells

Women’s Professional Billiard Alliance (WPBA) Ho-Chunk Classic took place September 13-16, 2018 at Ho-Chunk Gaming - Wisconsin Dells.  Top female pool shooters from around the world contended for first place prize $10,000.  The total purse was $50,000.
President of WPBA Dean Roeseler says, “This is the first time the WPBA has been in Wisconsin since 1993, in Milwaukee.  So, it’s been 25 years.” And that this is the “third tournament of the year, with one more scheduled.  WPBA is on a rebuilding stage.  Next year we hope to have 8 -12 events.”
Ho-Chunk Classic consisted of a 64 player field with three stages.  The first stage started Thursday and players raced to seven game wins.  The second stage started Friday and players raced to eight.  The final stage started Saturday and players raced to eight.

Aison Funmaker dances during Milwaukee Indian Summer Festival

Aison “Suuk Ska Ga” Funmaker of Wisconsin Dells, WI was asked to dance on the Miller Lite Stage during the Milwaukee Indian Summer Festival held September 7-9, 2018.  He is a 6th grader at the Jack Young Middle School in Baraboo, WI.  Aison is the son of Caleb and Ni’vy Funmaker.  He is the grandson of Kerry (Fremina) Funmaker of Baraboo, WI, Elizabeth (Frank) Espinosa of Sloan, IA and the late James “Jimmy” (Florence) Starr of Stroud, OK. 
A member of the bear clan of the Ho-Chunk Nation, Aison has shown many accomplishments during the course of the year bringing home the “Champ” title, placing 1st in Junior Boys Traditional at Gathering of Nations 2018. 

Joshua Decorah Sanford to be inducted into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame

Captain Joshua Decorah Sanford will be inducted into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame on October 20, 2018, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  Joshua Sanford was the only Native American that flew for the famed Flying Tigers and survived World War II.
Sanford was born near Friendship, Wisconsin on January 19, 1919, to Maude L. Decorah and Herbert W. Sanford.  His mother was Ho-Chunk.  His father was a Seneca from Cayuga County, New York and a graduate of Cornell University. 

Otoe-Missouria Nation presents the Ho-Chunk Nation with a sacred horse

During the historic 2018 Ho-Chunk Nation Labor Day Pow-Wow, our relatives from the Otoe-Missouria Nation came “HOME” in droves to meet their ancestral relatives in Black River Falls, Wisconsin. 
Along with the formal introductions by the leaders of the Ho-Chunk Nation, singing, dancing, meals sponsored by families and clans, storytelling, and extravagant traditional giveaways, was a deeper, more serious gift: they brought with them a sacred gift of life, a Palomino Paint Stallion.
At two years old, this special horse, nicknamed “Otoe”, has a gleaming coat of gold and calm brown eyes.  He is quiet and likes to listen and watch others.  He stands tall and strong, straight and piercing. 

Ho-Chunk Gaming Black River Falls Opens Long Awaited Porte Cochere, and Veteran’s Memorial Garden

Another phase of the Ho-Chunk Nation’s “Project Forward” at Ho-Chunk Gaming Black River Falls has been completed. On Friday, August 24, 2018 a ribbon cutting ceremony took place for our Thunderbird inspired Porte Cochere and Veteran’s Memorial Garden.
Porte Cochere is a French word for coach gate, used to protect people from the weather elements. Ours is unique in its physical size and appealing structure. The conical feature has lights inside that are beamed upward through blue acrylic, and downward to an organic sand based rock garden. The surrounding secondary walls of the Porte Cochere have multiple lights directed toward their panels that create a multi-colored effect in the evening.

Harris, Thaler, and Blaschke sworn in as commissioners

Three Gaming Commissioners were sworn in at a special ceremony on Monday, Sept. 10, in the Tribal Office Building atrium.
Tris Harris, Samantha Thaler, and Cori Blaschke were given the oath of office by Chief Justice JoDeen Lowe. Each commissioner provided a speech of acceptance.
Traditional Chief Clayton Winneshiek provided the prayer. A cake was provided to celebrate the occasion, along with a song to honor the three officials.

Ho-Chunk musician performs at Twin Cities fundraiser, interviewed on television

Corey Rae White, guitarist and vocalist, performed with his band, “Lonesome Losers,” at the annual “Pulling Together” fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 8, in the Twin Cities.
Before that happened, he and his band members appeared on WCCO Channel 4 television for an interview to promote the event and to perform on Friday, Sept. 7.
The fundraiser involved a “tug-of-war” competition across the Mississippi River with teams from St. Paul competing against teams from Minneapolis. Corey and his band played at the after-party following the “tug-of-war” competition and awards ceremony.
As it currently stands, St. Paul teams have raised $77,258 while Minneapolis teams have raised $69,735 for a combined total of $146,993.
Departments join forces for Prevent Suicide Conference in Wittenberg

Division Director of Youth Services Lanette Walker places an emphasis on the word “prevention” when she talks about the upcoming “Prevent Suicide Conference” slated for September 21-23, at the Siga Funmaker Community Center in Wittenberg.
“We want to be proactive, rather than reactive,” Walker said. “We want to be ahead of it.”
The upcoming conference is geared toward the youth, but it also includes adults and community members.  “Because it’s part of the community. You can’t make one plan and expect it to fit all. Every situation is unique.”


Ho-Chunk Nation co-sponsors first Wisconsin Leadership Summit for people of color

More than 320 people attended the first-ever Wisconsin Leadership Summit, held Thursday, Oct. 18, through Friday, Oct. 19, at the Ho-Chunk Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells.
The event was a joint venture between the Ho-Chunk Nation and the Madison-based organization Madison 365.
Some of the state’s most influential leaders of color gathered to discuss issues facing communities across Wisconsin. It also offered a chance for people of similar interests to network and make new friendships.
Ho-Chunk Nation President Wilfrid Cleveland offered the welcome address and the Wisconsin Dells Singers provided the opening songs.
Five other Ho-Chunk members served in some capacity in breakout sessions during the Summit.

Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame Inducts Joshua Decorah Sanford

On Saturday, October 20, 2018, the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame (WAHF) held its 33rd Annual Induction Ceremony in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.   Approximately 250 individuals filled the Founder’s Wing of the AirVenture Museum to witness the induction presentations and celebrate scholarship recipients.  The four inductees were Joshua Sanford, Janis Sierra, Donald Winkler, and Jerome LeBerron.  The three scholarship recipients were Emily Bennett at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Aaron Wahlgren at Gateway Technical College, and Isaac Lee at Fox Valley Technical College.

Cari Fay contender for 70th Assembly District, gets ready for November election

A local Ho-Chunk woman’s career will be decided with the November General Election.
Cari Fay, a town of Manchester resident and a contract health services assistant administrator and mediator for Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Health, is challenging Republican incumbent Nancy VanderMeer of Tomah in the 70th Assembly District.
She is running as a Democrat and incumbent VanderMeer is running as a Republican who is seeking her third two-year term.
The 70th District includes northwestern Portage County, a majority of Wood County, eastern Jackson County, and northern Monroe County, which includes the cities of Tomah and Sparta.
Cari is a United States Marine Corps veteran, was a Milwaukee police officer for 10 years, was an investigator for nine years, and is a certified mediator and trainer for creating settlement agreements.

Jesse Hopinkah's WWII elite commando unit awarded Congressional Gold Medal

PFC Jesse Hopinkah (1921-1949) was a member of and served in the First Special Service Force (FSSF) during World War II.
The FSSF was an elite American-Canadian Commando Unit under the command of the U.S. 5th Army. Today’s American and Canadian Special Forces trace their heritage to this Unit. The Unit was organized in 1942 and trained at Fort Harrison near Helena Montana. Troops went through a rigorous selection process and only a few were chosen. The Unit’s specialty was close quarter fighting against superior numbers. They became paratroopers and had their first jump within 48 hours of training.

Redistricting special election results
By Ardith Van Riper

The Ho-Chunk Nation membership voted in a Special Election for Redistricting and Reapportionment on Friday, October 12, 2018.
The membership voted on three scenario choices, #4, #6, and #10.
The Ho-Chunk Nation Election Board certified Scenario #10 received the most votes.
Under Scenario #10, the number of Legislators remains the same, but the Districts change. The
new Districts number 1, 2, 3, and 4. The new District 4 consist of old District 5 and includes the same
geographic territory.
District 1 Legislators are Reps. Thundercloud, Smith, and Greengrass. District 2 Legislators are Reps. White Eagle, Lincoln, and Estebo.
District 3 are Reps. Walker, Jr., DeCamp, and Visintin. District 4 are Reps. LoneTree-Whiterabbit, Mullen, TwoBears, and Whiterabbit.
Ho-Chunk Nation tribal members from the St. Paul area developed and submitted Scenario #10.

Overcoming the negative is topic at Journey of Hope Conference
By Ken Luchterhand

More than 270 people attended the 13th Annual Journey of Hope Conference, held Oct. 2-3 at the Ho-Chunk Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells.
The purpose of this event is to educate tribal members of all ages with diabetes prevention related information. It also gives tribal members direct access to Ho-Chunk Nation Health staff for two days. During this time, they can share their stories of health, voice their concerns, and become informed to better their own health.

Healthcare official advises flu shot to protect against hard-hitting virus

Last year, the influenza virus hit Wisconsin residents hard. This year, it may be more of the same.
That’s why Ho-Chunk Department of Health employees are encouraging everyone to get the flu shot before influenza rears its ugly head, especially HCN Infection Prevention and Employee Health Nurse Jennifer Baird.
“Timing of getting the shot is important. Many people may wait until the flu has made an appearance and is spreading throughout the area. However, that is not a good practice since it takes approximately two weeks to build up an immunity and people can be exposed to an active virus before the immunity is complete,” she said.

Veterans Affairs Secretary visits the Ho-Chunk Nation to offer a listening ear

In an effort to reach out to all tribes in the state, Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Daniel Zimmerman visited the Ho-Chunk Nation Tribal Office Building on Thursday, October 4.
A meal was provided to him and all veterans. He also took a brief tour of the Nation’s buildings and grounds.
“My purpose was to get out and better understand what is going on in the tribes and what they are their concerns are relating to veterans. It’s one thing to have your folks report back to you and let you know what’s going on and it’s another thing to actually experience it firsthand,” Zimmerman said.

Wendy WhiteEagle starts term as first Native American Village Trustee in growing Chicago Western Suburb

“There is not many things that someone my age hasn’t experienced, but this is new and this is exciting!” said Wendy WhiteEagle, 58, who was sworn into her seat as a Trustee of the Village of Campton Hills in Illinois on August 31, 2018. Campton Hills is a growing community just west of Chicago in the western suburbs and boasts a population of nearly 20,000 residents.
White Eagle is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, who is part of the Eagle Clan. Her parents were John H. White Eagle and Lyla L. Miller.
Hoocak First Listeners Project

Hoocak language revitalization efforts have been underway since 1993, only a handful of proficient language speakers have been produced as a result of this effort.  The 2015 Ho-Chunk Nation Census revealed 83% of families reported the frequency of their daily Hoocak language usage as “rarely” or “not at all.” 

According to the HCN statistics, the Nation has 107 first language speakers.  The Language Division has only been able to identify 50-60.

Ho-Chunk Nation Police receives Tribal Resources Grant

The Ho-Chunk Tribal Police Department recently was notified that it was awarded a $203,460 grant from the Tribal Resources Grant Program – Equipment and Training Award.
On Sept. 19, a letter was received from the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C., notifying the Ho-Chunk Nation of the award.
According to Police Chief Earl Lemieux, the money will go toward purchasing new squad cars.
“I’m very happy to get the new squad cars. The squad cars we currently use have high mileage,” Lemieux said. “We’re happy to be able to upgrade the fleet.”


Beloit city officials eager to get started on casino; public environmental hearing set for Dec. 11

What started many years ago with a vision is beginning to take shape.
Plans for the Ho-Chunk Nation to construct and operate a casino in Beloit are beginning to move forward and City of Beloit officials are eager to get the construction underway.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has recently published a Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Ho-Chunk Nation Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project.
The next step is to hold a public hearing on the environmental impact study.
“We are certainly eager for the public hearing on the Environmental Impact Statement at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, at Aldridge Middle School in Beloit. This is an important next step for the ultimate approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” said Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther.
Beloit Diversity Projects offers insight into Ho-Chunk culture

October 24-25th were beautiful sunny autumn days. It was a great week to celebrate the Beloit Diversity Project. This year, we coordinated with Mr. Douglas Williams, Beloit Superintendent and Ms. Tasha Bell, Diversity Coordinator, so all students and staff could enjoy and learn about the Ho-Chunk Nation. We took 24 dancers to Beloit and had eight dance performances for grades K-12.
On behalf of the Ho-Chunk Nation and their funding, a big THANK YOU to all those that were involved in making this project a success: Bobby Blackdeer, Garrick Cleveland Sr., Samson Funmaker, Cody Greendeer, and Chad Tahchawwickah for all the beautiful songs sung with the Winnebago Sons drum; David Greendeer and Samson Funmaker.

Ho-Chunk Day celebration held at new District 1 Community Center

Historically, the Ho-Chunk Nation has observed the day after Thanksgiving as Ho-Chunk Day for more than a decade.
Two years ago and every year since, the city of Madison has proclaimed the fourth Friday in November as Ho-Chunk Day.
This year Ho-Chunk members gathered on Friday, Nov. 23, at District 1 Community Center in Black River Falls to celebrate the holiday. Members registered at the door for raffle prizes, which were given throughout the event.
A total of 157 people registered at the event.
The day started at 10 a.m. with songs and dance and then followed with a meal at noon. After lunch, members played bingo and winners received a number of high-quality prizes.

Friday is Ho-Chunk Day in the City of Madison

The Madison Common Council on Tuesday officially designated Friday, November 23 to honor the people who fist lived here.
It’s been an annual tradition for many years in the Ho-Chunk Nation to celebrate Ho-Chunk heritage on the day after Thanksgiving, and the day has been officially recognized by the City of Madison for the last few years as well.
“It’s the acknowledgement of our history here as a nation, that we have been here since time immemorial and continue to be here and I think that acknowledgement is important,” said Alder Arvina Martin, the lead sponsor of this year’s resolution.  Martin is the first member of the Ho-Chunk Nation to serve on the Madison Common Council.
This year was different, though — for the first time, the resolution was been introduced in the Ho-Chunk language, a language Martin is still learning.

Sharice Davids’ historical election to Congress celebrated in Kansas

Ho-Chunk Sharice Davids from Kansas won her bid for United States Congress on Nov. 6, 2018.  Davids and Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, of New Mexico are the first Native women elected to Congress.  Also, Sharice Davids is the first L.G.B.T. Native to serve as a federal lawmaker.
Democrat Sharice Davids unseated four-term incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder, Davids had 53.3 percent of the vote to Yoder’s 44.2 percent. 
Hundreds of supporters gathered at an election watch party in Olathe on election night.  The ballroom in the Embassy Suites erupted in cheers after a cable news network declared Davids the winner in the Kansas 3rd Congressional District race. 
The crowd cheered, “Sharice!  Sharice!  Sharice!” and tears of joy could be seen on many faces as Davids took to the stage.

Veterans Day Powwow honors the 100th anniversary of WWI Armistice Day

The sounds of the drum echoed throughout the airport hangar at Volk Field on Saturday, Nov. 10.
The sounds were an annual tradition, dating back more than four decades.
It was the 41st Annual Veterans Powwow to honor all veterans for their service and sacrifices.
Ralph Decorah offered the prayer at the beginning of the event.
“We, the members of Volk Field, are happy to have you here today and including us in this 41st Annual Veterans Powwow,” said Volk Field support staff Senior Master Sergeant Vaughan Wilberg, who provided the keynote address.
“Today, as well as Nov. 11, is to honor veterans who have served and to remember the sacrifices they have made. As you might already know, Veterans Day first started as Armistice Day 100 years ago. It was established to celebrate the end of World War I. After legislation was put forth to bring about what we now know as Veterans Day,” Wilberg said.
Ona M. White Wing Garvin Speech for Veterans Day, November 11, 2018

On the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month on the 11th Hour, World War I ended in Europe.  This was a major conflict fought in Europe and the world from July 23, 1914 to November 11, 1918, 100 years ago.  Over 8 million people were killed in battle.  This was not a war that the Ho-Chunk people were involved in at the beginning, but the United States joined as Allies.
The Ho-Chunk Nation have always been a warrior people protecting their lands and fighting off raids from other tribes and the United States government throughout the 1700 and 1800s. 
Ho-Chunk Nation’s Beloit Casino moves forward in federal approval process

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has published a Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Ho-Chunk Nation Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project.

This step moves the Beloit Casino forward in the final approval process. For many years, the City of Beloit, Rock County, community members, and the Ho-Chunk Nation have been extremely supportive of the project.

“We feel energized as this is the farthest this project has ever been. We look forward to working with our local partners through this approval process that creates thousands of construction jobs and 1,500 full time jobs for Wisconsin,” said Ho-Chunk Nation President Wilfrid Cleveland.

Working on future emphasized at annual Ho-Chunk Youth Leadership Conference
By Ken Luchterhand

It’s a way to ensure the successes of tomorrow – to plan the seeds for developing the leaders of the future.
Youth from all over the state gathered for the Ho-Chunk Nation Youth Leadership Conference on Saturday, Nov. 3, at the new District 1 Community Center in Black River Falls.
This is the second year for the Youth Leadership Conference. There was 50 youth present.
The conference consisted of a keynote speaker, a legislative social, lunch, an after-lunch speaker, cultural advice for the males from Traditional Chief Clayton Winneshiek, cultural advice for the females from the Clan Mothers, and a talk from Bill Quackenbush about Ho-Chunk history: past, present, and future.
According to Carol Garvin, one of the founders and coordinators for the event, the idea came from talking to the youth.

A Glimmer of Hope

Everyone was welcomed to the house located at W8801 Blackhawk Road in Black River Falls, Wisconsin during “A Glimmer of Hope” event.  The event was November 1st through the 3rd in acknowledgment that overdoses increase around per capita times. 
Both youth and adults gathered in support of those fighting addiction and their families.  Time was spent sharing meals, playing games, visiting, and gathered around the fire outside. 

Veterans Day Ceremony provides insight into the commitment behind the service

An observance of Veterans Day was held Thursday, Nov. 8, in the Tribal Office Building atrium. The Ho-Chunk Division of Veterans Affairs hosted the event.
Present were members of the Andrew Blackhawk American Legion Post 129 of Black River Falls, the Joseph White American Legion Post 442 of Wisconsin Rapids, the Sanford WhiteEagle Post 556 of Wisconsin Dells, and the Marine Corp League of Wisconsin. 
The invocation was provided by Ralph Snake and John Steindorf was the emcee.
American Legion Post 129 Commander Jessika Greendeer provided the keynote address.
“One hundred years ago on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice was reached between Allied forces and Germany,” Greendeer said.

Spooks, heroes, villains, and princesses gather for police department’s Safety Halloween Party

The annual Halloween Safety Event was held on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the old District 1 Community Building.
Members of the Ho-Chunk Police Department organized and were present for the event.
The event is to provide information to keep children safe while trick-or-treating during Halloween.
There were 165 people in attendance.
Prizes were awarded for best costumes in different age categories.
Youth were able to obtain candy by smashing piñatas on the tennis courts next to the Community Center building.
Present for the event was Chief Deputy Mark Moen of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, along with his search-and-rescue bloodhound, Gus.

Baraboo schools observe Native American cultural awareness

Parent Planning for Baraboo is a group of Ho-Chunk volunteer parents that want to bring Native American cultural awareness in the schools and our long term goal is to get Title VI active again in Baraboo.
The thought was since the high school has new classrooms let’s offer some Native American classes that the students can sign up for. Classes offered on Tuesday were moccasin game by Sampson Funmaker and Larry Walker, frybread demo by Lanette Walker, Ho-Chunk History by Damian Thundercloud. Classes offered on Thursday were moccasin game by Sampson Funmaker, basket making by Kim Crowley, hand drum by Jon Thundercloud and Native American History by Janice Rice.


Sharice Davids offers her thanks, honored with Ho-Chunk reception
Anticipation filled the air as eager guests waited in expectation of an honored guest about to arrive at the District 1 Community Center.
The crowd had gathered that Saturday morning, Dec. 8, including family, friends, and dignitaries from local, state, and the federal government, in hopes of congratulating an exceptional person for a hard-fought victory.
As the door opened, an applause and cheering erupted with Sharice Davids entering the building.
Davids was given a hero’s welcome for her election victory to become the first Native American woman elected to Congress. She won her seat in District 3 in Kansas, having defeated four-term Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder.

First Nations Studies class visits HCN GIS specialist

Visitors from the Black River Falls High school paid a visit to GIS Specialist Niklas Anderson of the Ho-Chunk Nation Realty Division on Thursday, Nov. 29.
Sixteen students and History and Social Studies Instructor Paul Rykken came to see what kind of work Anderson does and how it fits in with the objectives of the Ho-Chunk people.
“I wanted to give the students an introduction to geography and all the tools geographers use, especially Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS),” Anderson said.
The group was from a class is called “First Nations Studies:  Introduction to the Tribal World.”
“It is a dual-credit offering with the UW-Green Bay First Nations Department,” Rykken said.

Elk recovered from illegal kill

The Ho-Chunk Nation recently took possession of a cow elk that was killed illegally during the Wisconsin deer gun season.
The elk was transported to the Tribal Office Building on Tuesday, Dec. 11, then taken to an undisclosed location for butchering.
According to Wildlife Biologist Nelson Smith of the Ho-Chunk Nation DNR, the locator collar indicated the elk had died between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20. The collar signal was used to locate the animal in the Wazee Lake area. The elk was gutted out when found.
Wisconsin DNR officials have not been able to find the person responsible for the kill and are asking the public for any tips to lead to the identification of the person.
Sioux Chef provides an evening meal of Indigenous foods

A movement is occurring to bring back the nutritional foods that were eaten years ago.
It’s called food sovereignty and it’s an effort being conducted by the Ho-Chunk Nation.
As a part of that effort, an “Indigenous Banquet” was served on Friday, Nov. 30, at the House of Wellness in Baraboo.
World-renowned Chef Sean Sherman and Chef Dana Thompson were at the center of the event, providing direction and catering the meal. After the meal, Chef Sherman, also known as the Sioux Chef, provided a talk on natural foods and its benefits. After the meal, he signed copies of his book, “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen.”
The meal was called “Moon When the Deer Lose Their Antlers Feast.”

Christmas craft creation combines caring, creativity

During the Christmas holidays, many gifts are offered to friends and family members.
The most valued and revered are handmade gifts, those given from the heart.
Many kind and giving hands were making those gifts the evening of Monday, Dec. 3, at the District 1 Community Center. However, it wasn’t just about the gifts, but more about the gathering of people.
It was a collaboration of the HCN Community Supportive Services Life Skills Program and the Vocational Rehabilitation for Native Americans (VRNA) program. It started last year from an idea formed by Life Skills Coordinator Gail Greendeer.
“We started working together in 2016, Hofstedt said. “It’s been a fun learning experience. We’ve been listening and observing. Sometimes we get more out of it that the clients.”