2023 Year in Review


2023 Year in Review


Ho-Chunk Nation participates in Annual Winter Festival at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve

On January 7, the Ho-Chunk Nation held a Snow Snake competition, shared stories and served squash soup at the Winter Festival at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve in Lafarge, Wisconsin.

The annual Winter Festival features outdoor, indoor and ciiporoke activities and educational sessions highlighting the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, which contains 1,200 acres of Ho-Chunk Trust land.

Ho-Chunk Nation Health Department Employees Accepted into LTHD Infection Prevention Pilot Program

On January 4, two Ho-Chunk Nation Health Department Employees, Ronelle McKernan, and Alissa Ginkowski were accepted into the Local and Tribal Health Department (LTHD) Infection Prevention Pilot Program.

This competitive pilot program allows LTHDs to apply for one staff member to work more closely with their Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Prevention Program Regional Infection Preventionist and participate in infection prevention and control (IPC) and HAI trainings, collaborate on outbreak response and on-site visits, and engage in other focused educational opportunities.

Luncheon with Congressman Ron Kind

On Dec. 28, 2022, the Ho-Chunk Nation President Marlon WhiteEagle and his staff hosted a luncheon with Congressman Ron Kind at the Three Rivers House in La Crosse, WI.

Madison Indigenous arts leader, activist revealed as white

By Robert Chappell, Reprint from Madison 365

Early in 2020, an Indigenous artist urged the owners of a new music venue in town to change its name.

It was called The Winnebago, after the street on which it stands. Many Indigenous people and allies let the owners know that wasn’t the best name for a white-owned music venue. One of them was nibiiwakamigkwe, also known as Kay LeClaire, a founding member and co-owner of the queer Indigenous artists’ collective giige, and budding leader of Madison’s Indigenous arts community.

It took several months, but the venue eventually relented and rebranded as The Burr Oak.

Siga Funmaker Community Center Celebrates 5 Years

The Wittenberg community gathered at the Siga Funmaker Community Center on Dec. 29, 2022, to celebrate the building’s five year existence.  The building was christened in the name of Georgianna “Siga” Violet Whitewing-Funmaker, Wakejahuiga (Coming from Above) in 2017 but the building name was shortened over the years to Siga Funmaker Community Center. 

Indigenous community looks to heal weeks after a “pretendian” is exposed

By Robert Chappell, Reprint from Madison365

Madison’s Indigenous and arts communities are working to disentangle themselves from a web left behind by Kay LeClaire, a white woman who has been claiming to be an Indigenous two-spirit person for at least five years.  

Since we first reported on LeClaire’s deceptions, the story went viral internationally. But much of the public’s attention has moved on, leaving artists, Indigenous people, businesses, nonprofit organizations and even government agencies to pick up the pieces.

Missing Tribal Member Found Dead

On January 18, the Ho-Chunk Nation Police Department officially confirmed missing tribal member, Falicia J. Wanna, was tragically found dead.

No February 2023 Per Cap

The Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature passed Resolution 01-17-23 D by an affirmative vote of 11, one opposed, and zero abstaining.  That resolution “does hereby declare that no per capita distribution will be made to the 7,787 eligible tribal members on February 1, 2023.”


Forgiveness of Ho-Chunk Nation Mortgage and Rental Late Fees Resolution Passes

During a regular meeting of the Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature on Feb. 7, Resolution 02-07-23 C passed with an affirmative vote of 11, zero opposed, and one abstaining.  The resolution is titled ‘Forgiveness of Ho-Chunk Nation Mortgage and Rental Late Fees since the End of the Suspension of Payments during the COVID-19 Pandemic.’ 

Further information is being released in the investigations related to Felicia J. Wanna

On 1/2/2023 the family of Felicia Wanna called to request a welfare check be completed as they had not seen or heard from Felicia since 12/29/2022.   Numerous attempts were made to contact and locate Felicia with no success.   An investigation was opened by the Ho-Chunk Police Department and further investigative options were attempted. The investigation was able to determine that on the evening of 12/29/22 Felicia was in the area of the Tomah Wal-Mart.  Video footage was obtained from security cameras in the area of the Tomah Wal-Mart and we were able to confirm that Felicia was in that area at 7:20 p.m. Felicia is seen leaving the Tomah Wal-Mart under her own free will.   It was also discovered through the investigation that Felicia did not have her vehicle or cell phone with her at that time, as a known party had taken both to La Crosse.   Although a number of other sightings were reported, this is the last confirmed sighting of Felicia.   

2023 General Primary Election Candidates Answers Two Questions

The Hocak Worak requested all General Primary Election candidates provide answers to two questions.   Those questions and their answers are compiled here, grouped in the office they are running for and appear in alphabetical order by first name.  Not all candidates submitted answers.


Affordable Housing Multifamily Project

Heena Development is working with the Ho-Chunk Nation and HHCDA (Ho-Chunk Housing and Community Development Agency) on an affordable housing multifamily project.

The Ho-Chunk Nation successfully submitted an application in WHEDA’s competitive tax credit process, but an award is not guaranteed yet.

The total costs continue to be a moving target. If awarded, there will be a better grasp on the total cost of the financial program of the project, infrastructure, construction, and financing costs.

The project consists of a 40 unit, low income apartment complex located in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

BRFHS Teacher’s Aide Resigns after Racist Remarks to a Ho-Chunk Student

A Ho-Chunk student is speaking out after a video circulating on social media has led to a Black River Falls School District Aide publically apologizing and officially resigning.

Black River Falls School District confirms the staff member has resigned.

The video circulating showed the aide, Laura Sahr, saying to student, Naomi Thunder: “I don’t care if you get a D minus. You’re Native, right? Collect your check. You don’t have to give two (expletive) about your future. So, why should I care?”

HHCDA Employee Retires

On February 9, friends and co-workers gathered together at Three Rivers in Lacrosse, Wisconsin to celebrate the retirement of Ho-Chunk Housing and Community Development Agency (HHCDA) grants writer, Paul Tyse. Paul was a Vietnam Army Veteran and has been working for the HHCDA for over 20 years.

Marquette University Confers Honorary Degree on Karen Lincoln Michel

On Thursday, Feb. 9, Karen Lincoln Michel received a Doctor of Humane Letters from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during their annual Mission Week.  Karen Lincoln Michel is an enrolled Ho-Chunk Nation tribal member who built a remarkable career as a writer and reporter, editor, publisher, and currently serves as president of ICT, formerly Indian Country Today.   Marquette University, a Catholic, Jesuit University, bestowed the highest honor they as a university can.

Wisconsin Premier All-Native Basketball Tournament Results

From Friday, March 10-12, the annual MM21 basketball tournament was held at the House of Wellness, located in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin’s Premier All-Native Basketball tournament is sponsored by the House of Wellness and the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Milwaukee Art Museum features the works of Ho-Chunk Artist

On Friday, February 24, “Native America: In Translation” opened at the Milwaukee Art Museum featuring works by Ho-Chunk artist, Tom Jones including the debut of “Bella Falcon” and a spotlight Sessions video called “Strong Unrelenting Spirits.”

Tom Jones is a Professor of Photography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jones is also a co-author on the book People of the Big Voice, Photographs of Ho-Chunk Families by Charles Van Schaick, 1879-1943. He has artwork in the collections of the National Museum of the American Indian, Polaroid Corporation, Sprint Corporation, The Chazen Museum of Art, The Nerman Museum, and Microsoft.

Ho-Chunk Nation General Primary Election 2023 Results

The results of the March 7 General Primary Election Results are as follows: President – Ryan John Crain, Sr.-141, Rita Gardner-81, Conroy R. Greendeer, Jr.-70, Hinu Helgesen Smith-135, Robert J. Mann-145, Michael J. Rave-30, George O. Stacy-85, Robert V. Two Bears-54, Lanette R. Walker-145, Marlon White Eagle-77, Jon Greendeer-369, and other write-ins-74.  Supreme Court Associate Justice 2 – David J.W. Klauser-1,149, and write-in-36. Trial Court Chief Judge – JoDeen B. Lowe-1,195 and write-in-28. Trial Court Associate Judge 1 – Wendi A. Huling-1,049 and write-in-123.  Trial Court Associate Judge 2 – Michelle Greendeer-Rave-1,208 and write-in-46. 

District 1 Legislator, Seat 2 – Amanda R. De Cora-97, Ashley Gerdes-95, Ian Keatley Littlejohn-28, Rodney Rave-128, and write-in-77. District 2, Seat 1 – Samantha Day-135, Robert L. Funmaker, Jr.-113, Timothy Gamble-66, Heath Littlejohn-69, Gabrielle Rave-76, and write-in-7.  District 3, Seat 1 – Sarah Lemieux-320 and write-in-18. District 3, Seat 3 – Darren Brinegar-184, Saresa Ryckman-139, and write-in-52.  District 4, Seat 2 – Paul J. Fox-72 and write-in-35.


Winter Basketball Camp at the House of Wellness features Bronson Koenig

The House of Wellness hosted a winter basketball camp on March 25 and 26 for boys and girls ages 10-17 featuring Bronson Koenig and area coaches.  The registration was free due to a grant from the Green Bay Packers Foundation.  Approximately fifty participants received a free t-shirt.

Ho-Chunk Nation Honors Vietnam Veterans

On Wednesday, March 29, the Ho-Chunk Nation honored those who served in the Vietnam War at Ho-Chunk Gaming- Wisconsin Dells, and the Tribal Office Building.

No May 2023 Per Capita Distribution

The Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature passed Resolution 04-04-23 B by an affirmative vote of 10 members, two opposed, and zero abstaining.  This resolution states, “in light of the unprecedented circumstances, and pursuant to its Constitutional authority, and the Per Capita Distribution Ordinance, does hereby declare that no per capita distribution will be made to the 7,766 eligible tribal members on May 1, 2023.”

Ho-Chunk Lands now Visible on Apple Maps

Drivers now using Apple Maps, an iPhone feature, will be able to navigate through Ho-Chunk tribal lands, and others in Wisconsin and across Indian Country.

The recent iOS update for the navigation application gives information about the hundreds of sovereign Indigenous nations within the U.S. and Canada.

Ho-Chunk Wrestler takes on State Championship title

Eli Komanekin, a Ho-Chunk Nation tribal member recently competed in the WWF Kids Folk style Championships in Madison, Wisconsin.

Eli placed first in the 210 pound bracket for the ages 10 to 11. In the final match of the day he competed against a fellow Ho-Chunk wrestler, Azrael Chavez, of Mauston.

Harry Whitehorse Sculpture at Teejop

Submitted by Deb Whitehorse

This story begins 200 years ago with an acorn that grew into a majestic white oak tree at Teejop.  Generations of Ho-Chunk set up summer villages near the tree. Many decades passed, and the city of Madison eventually built a school named in honor of the naturalist Henry David Thoreau next to the giant oak. The teachers and students at Thoreau School came to love the tree and couldn't imagine a time without its big limbs shading their playground. But that day came in 2000 when the tree reached the end of its life, and the school had to remove it for safety reasons. A Thoreau parent contacted Ho-Chunk artist Harry Whitehorse about creating a sculpture from the tree so that it could live on to be a teaching tool about the indigenous people who continue to live at Teejop.

Janice Rice gives Ho-Chunk Culture Presentations across Wisconsin

On Thursday, March 30, Janice Rice gave a presentation; “Walk with Me Among My Homelands: Hear the Echoes of My Ancestors,” at UW-Barron County.

Janice is a Ho-Chunk member Bear Clan and a retired UW-Madison librarian. She discusses Native culture, philosophy, teachings, values and land stewardship across the state of Wisconsin.

Ho-Chunk Nation Neighborhood Investment Fund Update

On Thursday, April 6, Governor Tony Evers and Elmer Moore of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, made multiple stops around the state of Wisconsin, ending their visit at the Ho-Chunk Nation in Black River Falls, discussing the Ho-Chunk Nations Neighborhood Investment Fund.

Executive Director of Housing and Public Work, Tracy Littlejohn; Executive Director of the Ho-Chunk Housing and Development Agency (HHCDA), Neil Whitegull; and District 2 Legislator, Representative Stay Begay, were in attendance on behalf of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

The Neighborhood Investment fund was received by the Nation in 2021, as part of the COVID-19 relief grant. The grant is valued at nearly $11 million, and is dedicated to two projects: Ten supportive housing units, and 22 small homes spread across five counties.

MAY5K Walk/Run Brings Awareness to MMIW

On Friday, May 5, approximately 300 participants gathered near Burns Park in La Crosse, WI, to bring awareness to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) crisis.  Indigenous tribes and their supporters in attendance listened to alarming statistics, the mayoral proclamation, the city council resolution, and were invited to visit Indigenous food and merchandise booths and resources booths.

BRF Hearts Spirits Project Unveiling

On May 4, the Nioxawani Naacge Waxopini (Black River Falls Heart Spirits) project had an unveiling at the School District of Black River Falls.

The project originated from Cheryl Ring, a Canadian artist, who developed a project called Heart Spirits. She wanted the missing and murdered Indigenous women of Canada to be more than a statistic, and more than an acronym. MMIW has been a recognized day since 2015 in Canada and 2017 in the United States. She developed the project in 2019.

First Nations Acknowledgement Community Event

On April 27, Wisconsin First Nations hosted a community event at the Onalaska High school featuring presentations and a concert by Bill Miller.

Bill Miller is a performer, songwriter, activist, painter, and world-class native flute player. Miller has received three Grammy awards, Native American Music Awards and Association awards, and led Wisconsin’s Lacrosse Symphony Orchestra.

Highway Cleanup for Earth Day

On May 2, Ho-Chunk Nation employees and community members cleaned up the Adopt-A-Highway section of Highway 54, east of Black River Falls between the Ho-Chunk Nation government and health offices, to the Andrew Blackhawk Memorial Powwow grounds.

Ho-Chunk Clan Circle Dedication Ceremony at University of Wisconsin-Madison

On May 4, 2023, University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) hosted a dedication ceremony for the Ho-Chunk Clan Circle sculptures located at the UW-Madison campus behind the new Bakke Recreation and Wellbeing Center and looking over Lake Mendota. The sculptures were created by Ho-Chunk artist Ken Lewis.

Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells adds electric chargers

On May 17, Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells hosted a ribbon cutting for one of Wisconsin’s largest and fastest public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations placed at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells. Casino officials, Ho-Chunk Nation President, Marlon White-Eagle, and officials from Alliant Energy, Inertial Electric, and the Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce were present for the event.

Ho-Chunk Nation and Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs sign MOA on veteran story collections

On May 17, the Ho-Chunk Nation Museum and Culture Center and the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs/Wisconsin Veterans Museum hosted the MOA signing in Tomah. Vice president, Karena Thundercloud and Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary, Designee James Bond, were in attendance as they signed a memo of agreement regarding the collection and documentation of Ho-Chunk Nation Veterans.


HHCDA Holds Ground Breaking Ceremony for Supportive Housing Ten-Unit Apartment Building

On May 31, the Ho-Chunk Housing and Community Development Agency (HHCDA) held a ground breaking ceremony for a Young Families Supportive Housing Project that features a ten-unit apartment complex near Black River Falls.  Representatives from HHCDA, Ho-Chunk Nation, the State of Wisconsin, Seven Generations Architecture and Engineering, and Americon Construction participated in the festivity.

McDonough Addresses Veterans Issues during Visit to Tomah VA

U.S Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough and U.S Representative Derrick Van Orden addressed veteran’s issues on Monday, June 5 at the Tomah VA.

One of the topics was about the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which is offering veterans who may have been misdiagnosed by a VA physician, new exams to evaluate whether they qualify for disability benefits.

McDonough addressed veterans who were examined at the Tomah VA for service-related head trauma by Dr. Mary Jo Lanska. Lanska was accused of conducting neurological examinations that were inaccurate or incomplete. The examinations determine whether a veteran is eligible for financial compensation through the VA. The doctor no longer works at the VA.

Ho-Chunk Member Launches New Rotary Club in Florida

Ho-Chunk entrepreneur, Larry Knudsen has launched a new Rotary Club located in Bradenton, Florida called the Rotary Club of Bradenton Social Impact.

Knudsen was president of the Minneapolis, South Rotary Club and achieved a few awards, including fastest growing club in Minnesota, and raised over $138,000 in two years for food shelves in South Minneapolis.

HCN Museum and the WI Veterans Museum seek out Ho-Chunk Veteran stories

The Ho-Chunk Nation Museum and the Wisconsin Veterans Museum seek out Ho-Chunk Veterans to share their stories after the MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) was signed on May 17, at the Ho-Chunk Nation Museum and Culture Center in Tomah.

Ho-Chunk Nation Secretarial Election Results

The Ho-Chunk Nation Election Board released the June 6 Secretarial Election Certification which states, “We the undersigned Election Officials of the Ho-Chunk Nation do hereby certify the above to be a true and accurate accounting of the ballots case in the Secretarial Election held on the 6th day of June 2023.  We further certify that in accordance with 2HCC, Section 6.21 f, (1) (a), that said election is declared rejected for failure to achieve the 30% voter participation requirement.”

All-Abilities Stroll Promotes Activity

On Saturday, June 10th, 2023 the All-Abilities Stroll took place at the Ho-Chunk Nation District 1 Community Center. The 1.2 mile walk promoted activity for everyone and raised funds for the All-Abilities Playground.

Before the Stroll, Ho-Chunk Gaming Black River Falls and Ho-Chunk Nation presented a $25,000 donation for the All-Abilities Playground to be built in Black River Falls in the fall.

Five Local Ho-Chunk Members Travel to Peru

The nonprofit Mundo Esperanza (World Hope) based out of Madison, escorted five local Ho-Chunk tribal members to Cusco, Peru, on Friday June 16.

Mundo Esperanza was founded in 2021 to promote greater awareness of Indigenous communities and sponsor the Madison Cusco Sister City partnership.

The Ho-Chunk tribal members who are traveling include; Bill Quackenbush, HCN tribal historic officer; JoAnn Jones, former HCN president; Linda Hopinka, tribal elder; Kyla Beard, HCN gaming manager; Randall Blackdeer, tribal veteran service officer.

Green Bay Area Hosts End of the School Picnic

There were seventy five in attendance at the End of the School Picnic.  The bash took place at Bay Beach Amusement Park on Friday, June 16.  Ho-Chunk Nation District 3 tribal members and families were invited to attend.

HELP Ends and General Welfare Payments Begin July 1

The Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature authorized appropriations this month.  The $800 HELP ended with the June 2023 disbursement.  Replacing this is the General Welfare Payment of $900 to all adult tribal members July 1, 2023 through June 2024.

Legislature Issues Recognition Citation to Neil Whitegull

The Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature honored Wakajaziiga, Neil Whitegull, during their Regular Meeting on June 13 with a rare distinction of a Legislative Recognition Citation.  This Citation thanked Neil for his achievements, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, commitment, and long service to the Ho-Chunk people.

Wausau Area Honors Representative Stacy

Submitted by Tricia Zunker

Those at the Wausau area meeting on June 13, honored outgoing Legislative Representative George Stacy for his service.

2023 Graduate Showcase


Ho-Chunk Nation Oath of Office Ceremony for Recently Elected Officials

The Ho-Chunk Nation held an Oath of Office Ceremony on July 5 at the Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells Lower Dells Ballroom.  Those officials include: President, Jon Greendeer; District 1, Seat 2, Rodney Rave; District 2, Seat 1, Robert Funmaker, Jr.; District 3, Seat 1, Sarah Lemieux; District 3, Seat 3, Darren Brinegar; District 4, Seat 2, Paul Fox; Supreme Court Associate Justice 2, David J.W. Klauser; Trial Court Chief Judge, Jo Deen B. Lowe; Trial Court Associate Judge 1, Wendi A. Huling; and Trial Court Associate Judge 2, Michelle Greendeer-Rave.

Kijire Naagu Event

This is an update and overview of the Kijire Naagu Event that took place the week of May 15-19, 2023.  Let me begin by saying that this event “was held and the results was captivating in the sense that it served as a meaningful purpose.”  The Kijire Naagu vision has always been to have a gathering of Hocak Wazooki naga Hicakoro for purpose of teaching, listening, embracing one another, sharing, and learning about our natural ways of healing.  I believe that each person that attended specifically chose to partake in this event.  Our Almighty Creator has always played a vital part in each of our lives.

Native American Tourism on the rise in Wisconsin

Native American Tourism of Wisconsin (NATOW) hosted its 2023 Conference and Golf Tournament on June 20-22 at the Menominee Casino and Resort. Leaders there discussed Indigenous destination tourism as being on the rise.

New Park Equipment in Black River Falls

The Ho-Chunk Housing and Community Development Agency showcased new playground equipment at Sandpillow Park near Black River Falls with a barbeque on Monday, July 10.

Team Wisconsin Brings Home 56 Medals from the 2023 North American Indigenous Games

The 2023 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) was held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, July 15-23, and gathered more than 5,000 athletes, coaches, and team staff from approximately 756 Indigenous Nations.  Team Wisconsin returned home with 21 gold medals, 18 silver medals, and 17 bronze medals.

The NAIG hosted competition in 16 sports, 3D archery, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, canoe, kayak, golf, box lacrosse, rifle shooting, soccer, softball, swimming, volleyball, and wrestling.

Team Wisconsin’s athletes hailed from Bad River, Bay Mills (Ojibwe), Chippewa, Forrest County Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk Nation, Isaniti Dakota, Lad du Flambeau, Menominee, Oneida, Potawatomi, Red Cliff, Red Lake, Sioux, Stockbridge, Three Affiliated Tribes, and Winnebago.

Ho-Chunk Nation Continues the Process of Revitalizing its Language

The Ho-Chunk Nation conducted a Recording and Review Collection, which is the next step in the process of preserving a language after its initial Rapid Word Collection, when thousands of words are collected from Elder speakers on July 18.

The multi-step process is vital to maintaining the growing and living nature of a language which will then be turned into dictionaries, e-learning platforms, and other time-critical language materials.


Ho-Chunk Nation Holds Swearing-In Ceremony for Gaming Commissioners

On Thursday, July 27, the Ho-Chunk Nation held a swearing in ceremony for the newly selected gaming commissioners.  The ceremony took place in the tribal office building near Black River Falls.

Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council Blessed Ground for New Adolescent Recovery and Wellness Center in Wisconsin

A ground blessing ceremony took place north of Tomahawk in Oneida County’s Town of Cassian on Monday, July 31. The event celebrated the coming together of Wisconsin’s tribal communities and regional partners to create the Adolescent Recovery and Wellness Center.

It’s a project nearly two decades in the making, led by the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC). The center will include a 36-bed residential facility supporting Native youth with living a healthy culturally grounded life.

Scholar and Native Rights Trailblazer Ada Deer Dies at 88

Ada Deer, Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin, died Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023.  She was the first woman to serve as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Interior Department and the first woman chair of her tribe.  On Nov. 15, 1994, the Ho-Chunk Nation Constitution became an official document as it was endorsed by the President of the Ho-Chunk Nation JoAnn Jones, Vice President Wilfrid Cleveland, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Ada Deer, and members of the Ho-Chunk Legislature.

Highlighting Ho-Chunk Language Learners: John Lee

Language is history, language is life, and language is the cultural health of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Fewer than 30 first language or eminent speakers are left.

John Lee, Ho-Chunk Tribal Member, has been learning the Ho-Chunk language ever since he was a child. He was born in Maryland, and later moved to Wisconsin and grew up in the City of Tomah.

Ho-Chunk Traditional Feast Ceremony Classes Available

Rock Greendeer, member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, is teaching a Ho-Chunk traditional feast ways class located in Tomah, Wisconsin Dells, and Black River Falls.


2023 Address Verifications Should Be in Your Mailbox

The Ho-Chunk Nation 2023 Address Verification Forms (AVFs) from the Office of Enrollment have been mailed out.  The annual AVFs are used for election purposes and to determine district residency.

Highlighting Ho-Chunk Language Learners: Randall Blackdeer ll

Language is history, language is life, and language is the cultural health of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Fewer than 30 first language or eminent speakers are left.

Randall Blackdeer ll (Naatisak), Veterans Service Officer at the Ho-Chunk Nation, started taking an interest in Ho-Chunk language when he was in head start with his teacher Irene Thundercloud.

Labor Day Weekend Fills with Ho-Chunk Nation Activities

The Ho-Chunk Nation (HCN) sponsored multiple outdoor activities that took place in and around Black River Falls over the 2023 Labor Day weekend.  The weather ranged from the 90 to 104 degrees.

Neeshla Pow-Wow in Baraboo

The Ho-Chunk Nation hosted the 2023 Neeshla Pow-Wow on Aug. 25, 26, and 27 in Baraboo near the Ho-Chunk Gaming – Wisconsin Dells casino.

Removal of District 3 Legislator Darren Brinegar

In a Special Legislative Meeting on Sept. 5, representatives passed Resolution 09-05-23 A.  This resolution states, “that the Legislature, pursuant to its Constitutional authority, finds good cause to remove District 3 Legislator Darren Brinegar, under Article IX, Section 3 of the Ho-Chunk Nation; and…that the basis for the Legislature’s finding of good cause is that Rep. Brinegar did not comply with Section 10.e of the Ho-Chunk Nation Code of Ethics as it pertains to his receipt of an honorarium for his participation in the ITTF and simultaneous payment of his pay/salary; and…that the removal of Rep. Brinegar is effective September 6, 2023.”

The Annual Meeting of General Council Reaches Quorum for the First Time in Four Years

The Annual Meeting of the General Council met on Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Kalahari Convention Center in Lake Delton, WI.  The General Council retains the power to set policy for the Ho-Chunk Nation.  The vote quorum of over 1,256 was met a little before 1:00 pm and business was conducted for the first time four years.  Quorum is twenty percent of the eligible voters of the Nation.  Registration recorded 1,457 members.

Highlighting Ho-Chunk Language Learners: John Stacy

Language is history, language is life, and language is the cultural health of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Fewer than 30 first language or eminent speakers are left.

John Stacy (44) (Coonake Huuk), Executive Administrative Officer, is from Black River Falls where he grew up on the Indian Mission with his parents Waldo and Lee Stacy. He is bear clan and began learning Ho-Chunk in his pre to early teenage years through the Cooka Orville Greendeer’s language camps at the Greendeer homestead.


3rd Annual Central Wisconsin Indigenous Peoples’ Day Pow Wow & Native American Art Market Returns This Weekend

The Central Wisconsin Indigenous Peoples’ Day Pow Wow & Native American Art Market returns this weekend. The event is hosted by the Central Wisconsin Indigenous Peoples’ Day Committee (CWIPDC), a local non-profit organization. CWIPDC formed in 2019 to organize this annual pow wow in celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which is the second Monday of October. This event is currently the only Native American event in Marathon County.

Black River Falls Homecoming Parade Displays Tiger Pride

The School District of Black River Falls held their 2023 homecoming parade and festivities during the week of September 22.  The students from the high school named Kaylee Youngthunder and Wyatt Madvig as the 2023 homecoming queen and king.  Ho-Chunk athletes, students, cheerleaders, and band members joined the march down Main Street to show their Tiger pride.  The Waaksik Wacek high school club and BRF Drum had a float.

Highlighting Ho-Chunk Language Learners: Dana Houghton

Language is history, language is life, and language is the cultural health of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Fewer than 30 first language or eminent speakers are left.

Dana Houghton (Ruucgei), Systems Technician, is from Black River Falls where she grew up on the Indian Mission with her parents Anna Taylor and Virgil Pettibone. She is from the pigeon clan and began learning Ho-Chunk from her younger siblings.

Wisconsin Dells musician: Marc LaMere

Paul Arentz- Content Editor/Writer, DriftlessNow.com

With the unofficial end of Summer in the Dells marked by Labor Day, if you went to any number of eating venues during the summer season, there is a good chance you caught musician Marc LaMere jamming out.

Ho-Chunk Nation Special Election – District 3 Results

The Special Election for District 3 from October 5, are as follows: Lambert Cleveland, Jr.-69, Andi Cloud-102, Timothy W. Hanson-12, Saresa Ryckman-39, and Jamie Decorah (write-in)-44.

Black Ash seed collection at Red Cliff

Black ash trees have been used by Hoocaks to weave baskets for generations. Within the last couple years, the Ho-Chunk Nation learned that there are no more usable black ash trees on our tribal lands. At a recent consultation with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), the Ho-Chunk Nation’s Executive Director of Natural Resources Brandon Bleuer discussed the emerald ash borer (EAB) and the lack of the culturally significant resource. While DATCP didn’t have a solution, the Ho-Chunk Nation connected with the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to discuss an effort to collect and store seeds for an eventual reforestation.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day of Sauk County – October 9, 2023

In 1874 Chief Wakajaziga (Yellow Thunder) died near the Wisconsin River north of Baraboo. The location was not far from the forty acres he purchased in 1847 to try and avoid being deported again from his homeland. His spouse, Haakejani?hei?ga (Always in the Back), had died a few years earlier, also in her homeland. Their desire and success to live and die in their homeland did not come easy. Decades earlier, after being forcibly deported multiple times, the pair walked back each time from west of the Mississippi to return to the land where their ancestors were buried. This remarkable Ho-Chunk couple and Indigenous connections to the land will be honored this year at Indigenous Peoples’ Day of Sauk County 2023.


Hoocak (Ho-Chunk)/White Earth Ojibwe artist Christopher Sweet installs mural in Sauk City

Paul Arentz, DriftlessNow.com

The timing couldn’t have been better for Hoocak (Ho-Chunk)/White Earth Ojibwe artist Christopher Sweet, as November is National Native American Heritage month.

Last week, the Great Sauk Trail received yet another mural along its route for people to enjoy while recreating. Sweet, who has yet to give a final title to his mural, is leaning towards giving it a name that portrays the connection people have to the land. Another mural made of ceramic tiles titled, “Earth, Sky, Water”, was installed on the trail back in October of 2020. Created by Little Eagle Arts Foundation (LEAF), the collaborative effort was intended as a gift of appreciation and in recognition for the generous donation from the Hoocak Nation in finishing the trail.

Native American village found during a construction project in Oshkosh                                                                              

A road construction project in Oshkosh, Wisconsin has led to the discovery of an ancient Native American village dating back between 900 A.D. and 1600 A.D. City officials say it is the largest discovery of artifacts in the area.

During the removal of the existing road bed, the historic village was found preserved under the roadbed in Menominee Park. Team members from the Cultural Resource Management program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are carefully digging beneath the roadway to preserve the archaeological history.

UW-Madison Unveils New Ho-Chunk Banners

The University of Madison held a celebration at Bascom Hill to unveil new Ho-Chunk Nation banners as part of the Our Shared Future initiative, the University’s commitment to respect the tribal sovereignty of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Ho-Chunk Nation Special Election – District 3 Results

The October 27 Legislator-District 3 results are as follows-: Lambert Cleveland, Jr.-103 and Andi Cloud-


Clan Mother Event Promotes Ho-Chunk Cultural Teachings

On November 8, 2023, the Waaksik Ho I Pii Hirusja Kii (Preparing One’s Self For A Good Life) grant sponsored the Ho-Chunk Nation’s Clan Mother Event.  The intention of the event was to promote Ho-Chunk cultural teachings to include information on kinships as it relates to family, clans and spiritual names.  In addition, the Clan Mothers introduced themselves to include their Ho-Chunk name, which Clan they belonged to and their roles and responsibilities as Clan Mothers.

 Fall Harvest Event

The Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Agriculture hosted the Fall Harvest Event on November 13 at the Neeshla Powwow grounds near Baraboo, Wisc.  It was a great collaboration with UW-Madison Rural Partnerships Initiative and the Ho-Chunk Nation Health and Wellness Division.

Ho-Chunk Nation Museum and Cultural Center host Stitched Together: Celebrating Ho-Chunk Applique Opening Reception

The opening reception for the Stitched Together: Celebrating Ho-Chunk Applique took place on November 10 in Tomah, Wisc.  The exhibit showcases the hard work and creativity of many Ho-Chunk artists.  Ribbon work applique has a long tradition of storytelling.

Swearing-In Ceremony for Legislature District 3, Seat 3, Lambert Cleveland, Jr.

On Wednesday, November 22, the newly elected Representative Lambert Cleveland, Jr. was sworn into office at the Ho-Chunk Nation Tribal Office Building, near Black River Falls, Wisconsin.


Chief Justice Todd R. Matha Published Article In Scholarly Law Journal

 Chief Justice Todd R. Matha authored "An Unexpected Challenge: The Consequence of a Limited Appellate Caseload" which was published in The Journal of Appellate Practice and Process Winter 2023 issue (Volume 22, Issue 1).

Ho-Chunk win joint Emmy with ‘Discover Wisconsin’

“Discover Wisconsin,” the nation’s longest-running travel and tourism TV series, and longtime partner Ho-Chunk Nation have won an Emmy Award at the 65th Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards.

Under the category for Outstanding Achievement for Arts/Entertainment Short Form Content, the partners were recognized for their digital short. In the video, “Discover Wisconsin” features Ho-Chunk native artist Truman Lowe and some of his most significant works. Some of his former students and colleagues share their insights and personal experiences working with Lowe. Through their stories, viewers gain a deeper understanding of the profound impact Lowe had on the lives of so many.