Internship Recognition Luncheon honors 2019 Ho-Chunk Nation Summer Interns

By Ardith Van Riper

     The Ho-Chunk Nation Education Department hosted an Internship Recognition Luncheon at Skyline Golf Course in Black River Falls to wrap up the eighth annual Summer Internship Program.

     The three interns this year were Stanley White Eagle, Jr., Ria Thundercloud, and Katelyn Bird.  

     The 2019 Summer Internship Program ran June 3 through August 9, 2019, and is a paid work experience.  There were 54 interns over the course of eight years and this year was one of the smallest groups of interns.

     The luncheon began with a welcome and meal prayer offered by Dr. Marcus Lewis.
Interim Executive Director of Education Nehomah Thundercloud made remarks.

     “Between the site directors and the work product that the interns have done, we’ve been very impressed,” said Nehomah Thundercloud.

     Stanley White Eagle, Jr. was placed in the Planning and Development Division with Michael Rave as his site supervisor.  Mr. White Eagle graduated this year from Western Technical College with an associate degree in the Business Analyst program.

     “I researched the IT change management and what methods they used to adopt any new projects that are coming in through IT,” explained Stanley White Eagle, Jr.

     “We wouldn’t mind keeping him in the office,” said Mike Rave.  “Stanley’s outputs on a daily basis were everything we could have hoped for and then some.” 

     Stanley plans on pursuing his bachelor degree at UW – Green Bay and continues his work as a Community Elder Representative for the Ho-Chunk Nation.

     Ria Thundercloud was placed with Youth Services in the St. Paul Youth and Learning Center with Danielle DeLong as her site supervisor.  Ms. Thundercloud graduated this year from the Institute of American Indian Arts with a bachelor’s degree in Indigenous Liberal Studies.

     Danielle DeLong spoke of Ria’s work, “She had middle schoolers coming in after playing La Crosse (at the Summer Youth Enrichment Program), laying on the floor doing yoga, meditation, setting an intention for that day.  I had the privilege of walking into her classroom and hearing our Youth say ‘Today, I just want to work on being humble.’  Those things are amazing.  When we can connect our children to new and challenging perspectives and give them life skills that they can not only use during summer camp but throughout their life.”

     “This is my first time every working with Youth.  It was a great experience.  I learned more than I ever did going to school, working with youth,” explained Ria Thundercloud.

     Ria would like to pursue a master’s degree in either social work or law school.

     Katelyn Bird was placed in the Department of Education with Savannah Shegonee as her site supervisor.  Ms. Bird attends Western Technical College and is pursuing an associate degree in Graphic Design.

     “When Katelyn started, she was hired on as an events planner,” said Shegonee.  “Her job was to assist our division managers with their events that we’ve had going on this summer.  The Department of Education has quite a bit of events.”

     Savannah Shegonee went on to explain the working relationship with Katelyn.  Shegonee described Ms. Bird as creative, smart, and kind. 

     “I got to practice some of my graphic design skills in designing pamphlets, flyers, and logos.  I was also the photographer the whole summer,” explained Katelyn.

     Ms. Bird will be graduating in April. 

     Two elected representatives shared some remarks.  President Marlon White Eagle shared his story of being an intern in this same program and his employment history with the Ho-Chunk Nation.  Representative Darrin Brinegar congratulated the three interns and explained the importance of education for the future of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

     Dr. Marcus Lewis closed the luncheon with appreciations on behalf of the internship program.  He mentioned the Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature, Dawson McAndrew, JoAnn Jones, Henning Garvin, Jared Stacy, MicahMarie McCann, Ardith Van Riper, Erin Roberts, Carla Stenulson, Salena Lemieux, and Diane Rave.  Services and products for the luncheon were purchased through Shane Steindorf (Shane Davis Photography), Ashley Gerdes (The Sweetness of Life Bakery), and Michael Rave (Falls Florist & Greenhouse).