Financial Literacy Program Transitions into New Platform

By Ardith Van Riper

     On January 1, 2024, the Financial Literacy Program moved into a new and improved online platform.  The Ho-Chunk Nation Education Department hosted a launch event at the Tribal Office Building on January 4.  Those in attendance were able to experience the new platform and mobile app.

     The Ho-Chunk Nation Financial Literacy Program provides an introduction to financial topics that helps prepare Ho-Chunk enrolled high school juniors and graduating seniors, and those enrolled members who have not yet received their trust funds for a successful financial future.  The goal of the proactive approach is to empower our enrolled members to make knowledgeable choices with their finances as adults.

     Lance Long was the master of ceremonies.  The Ho-Chunk Singers rendered honor songs.

     Traditional Chief Clayton Winneshiek talked to the creator in the Ho-Chunk language.  Then, he said, “We have some people here that are working with our youth that are going to school.  We as Ho-Chunk people, we put our youth in the forefront. This group that put this together, Michelle (Cloud) I want to thank you for asking me to be a part of this.”

     He went on to say, “We want our youth to succeed.  We want them to walk a good road.  In this time, in the Ho-Chunk Nation, when our kids finish school they get a large amount of money. What these guys are doing here is looking at our youth and hope they are doing something good, that they are on a good path, that they spend this money wisely.”

     Then, Ho-Chunk Nation President Jon Greendeer provided an initial welcome in the Ho-Chunk language.  Then, he went on to say, “I want to thank a lot of people, the Education Department under the leadership of Ryan Crain.  Michelle (Cloud), as you know, seems to just smash every time she does something and I think it’s important to give Michelle a big round of applause for the work that she does. 

     “I also want to add that when you do things here, you never do it alone.  It isn’t Michelle by herself, she’s got a team of people that she depends on.  Whether it is for work or knowledge, transportation, it’s all these little things.”

     President Greendeer went on to add, “The education that you are receiving to manage your finances is the best we can do today.”

     Executive Director of Education Ryan Crain was one of the keynote speakers.

     Izaak Ortiz, Financial Representative from Northwestern Mutual shared his financial journey.

     Joe Saari, Founder and Chairman, Financial Fitness Group expressed some words.

     Those in attendance were invited to the cafeteria to experience the new platform and mobile app launch.

     The launch concluded with cake and refreshments.  The Ho-Chunk Singers rendered the traveling song.