Labor Day Weekend Fills with Ho-Chunk Nation Activities

By Ardith Van Riper

     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.

The Rise Above Recovery Rally

     The weekend kicked off with Prosperity in Recovery’s Rise above Recovery Rally on Friday, Sept. 1, at the Lunda Community Park by the Upper Shelter and Band Shell.  September is Nation Recovery Month.  The Prosperity in Recovery group promotes family activities for those who are in recovery.

     The rally opened with registration, introductions, a prayer, and a meal.  The War Cloud Nation provided songs.  There were informational booths and memorial items on display.

     Sponsors of the rally included the Labor Day Pow-Wow Committee, Ho-Chunk Health & Wellness Division, District 1 Community Center, Jackson in Action, McDonald’s, KC Fitness, Riverside Nutrition, and an anonymous donor.   Additional support came from the HCN Division of Behavioral Health, HCN Department of Social Services, Andrew Blackhawk Legion Post #129, and Ho-Chunk Housing & Community Development Agency.

     The event speakers included Evangeline Suguet, James Allen Cross from Natives Against Heroin, Charles Kagigebi from Sober Driver Project, Sherri Larsen from We Do Recover, John Henry Skenandore from Project Lights Out, Tena Quackenbush from Stop the Stigma.  There was a comedy act by Justina Hindsley.

     The evening closed with a candlelight memorial, prayer by Mary Ann Dick, and honor song.

Labor Day Pow-Wow Fun Run/Walk

     The Ho-Chunk Nation Health & Wellness Division hosted a fun run/walk on Sept. 2 at the District 1 Community Center.  The goal was to promote health and wellness and foster positive community feelings.  Participants could choose to complete 1.5 or three miles and the route was stroller and wheelchair accessible.

Haapo’taiiga Applique Iron Woman Special

     On Sept. 3, the family of Bridgadine (Garvin) Spiegler sponsored a dance special intended to give Bridge and all others battling cancer the strength to continue to persevere.  Spieger was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.  The dance special was for women, ages 18 plus, applique dancers.  The challenge was last woman standing, winner takes all.  Elimination was done by walking off or fallen regalia.

     Over 35 dancers participated in the challenge.  After twenty plus songs, five dancers were honored with Pendleton blankets.  The finalists were Tiffany Warner from Winnebago, NE and breast cancer survivor, and Cameryn Collins from Plover, WI.  Both received a jacket and paaxge earrings.  The champion was Jovena Scabbyrobe from White Swan, WA and she was awarded $3,500, a jacket, and a pair of paaxge earrings.

     The challenge lasted over an hour and a half in ninety degree weather, for twenty six songs.

     George Garvin and Tim Decorah spoke on behalf of the family.

Co-Ed Softball Tournament

     The 24th Annual Labor Day Co-Ed Softball Tournament took place Sept. 2 – 3 at the Sandpillow Softball Fields.  Andi Jo Cloud organized the event.

     The Wakajaxete (Big Thunder) Home Run Derby winners were Sophia Anderson from Team Sophia and Daben King from ED’s Drain Cleaning.  The Thundercloud family funded the award money in honor of the late Zack Thundercloud, who was the announcer and coach of the local little league team called the Bulldogs.  Nehomah Thundercloud-Pucel represented her brother and family by presenting the awards.

     Sponsors of the tournament included Ho-Chunk Gaming – Black River Falls, Whitetail Crossing – Black River Falls, and Ace Scholze’s – Black River Falls.

     Individual awards went to Kyle from ED’s Drain Cleaning for Home Run Chief, Kallen from Closing Time for Strikeout Chief, and Lena from New Bread for Girls Can Play Ball (most RBIs). Anita Naquayouma of New Breed was selected for the Nacgepii (good heart) Award.

     Seventh place went to Bad News Bears.  The sixth place team was New Breed.  Closing Time took fifth place. The fourth place winners was Team Sophia and they were the furthest travelers, hailing from Suttons Bay, Michigan.

     BJ’s Airport took third. Second Place went to Warstic. The Champions were ED’s Drain Cleaning from Oneida.

Moccasin Tournament

     Sampson Funmaker organized the moccasin tournament.

Traditional Lacrosse & Double Ball Draw Tournament

     On Sunday, Sept. 3, there was a traditional lacrosse and double ball tournament near the District 1 Community Center.  Teams were randomly drawn from players.  There were cash prizes and contests for longest throw and accuracy.  All levels of players were welcome and sticks were available on site.

     Randall Blackdeer II organized the games.

Book Signing

     Hattie Walker coordinated an all Ho-Chunk book signing event on Sept. 3 at the pow-wow.  United States Representative Sharice Davids, Musician Irene Keenan, Jr., and Ria Thundercloud were the honored authors who attended.  Musician Corey White was invited.  Davids created “Sharice’s Big Voice”, Thundercloud penned “Finding My Dance”, Keenan wrote “Dave Goes to the Moon”, and White authored “Kunu’s Practice Pays Off.”

Labor Day Contest Pow-Wow

     The HCN Labor Day Contest Pow-Wow took place Sept. 2, 3, and 4 at the Andrew Blackhawk Memorial Powwow Grounds near Black River Falls.  The public was invited and there was no entry or camping fee.

     Emcees for the weekend were Dylan Prescott and Lance Long.  Dave Russell was the arena director.  Head Veteran was Robert Mann.  Hoki Clairmont was the head drum judge.  The head man dance judge was David Cleveland.  Shandiina Jack was the head woman dance judge.  Host Drums were Bearheart and Iron Mound.  Waylon Pettibone organized the event.

      The contest winners were:

Drum Contest Winners
1st Place: Black Lodge
2nd Place: HeyLushka
3rd Place: Southern Boys
4th Place: Eagle Feather
Women Golden Age Combined
1st: Anname Pushetoneque
2nd: Thelma Whitewater
3rd: Tina Hindsley
4th: Becky Taylor
Men Golden Age Combined
1st: Ken Funmaker, Sr
2nd: William Hindsley
3rd: Charles Hindsley
4th: Albert King, Jr
Sr. Men Grass 
1st: Haga Cleveland
2nd: Norman Smith
Sr. Men Traditional
1st: Shane Mitchell
2nd: Robert "RJ" Smith
3rd: Ike Orlando 
4th: Les Painter
Sr. Men Fancy
1st: Tyler Lasley
2nd: JR. Lonelodge
Sr. Men Woodland
1st: Garrett Christiansen
2nd: Dennis Youngbear
3rd: Josh Zuncker
4th: Eddie Larrea
Sr. Women Jingle 
1st: Cassie Hindsley
2nd: Lisa Whitebird
3rd: Michelle Winneshiek
4th: Kimberly LaRonge
Sr. Women Traditional
1st: Maria Garcia
2nd: Erica Hawpetoss
3nd: Corena Whitecloud
4th: Tiffany Warner
Sr. Women Fancy
1st: Nahmi Lasley
2nd: Lisa Ewack
3rd: Amy Bearskin-Painter
Sr. Women Applique
1st: Regina Hindsley
2nd: Tracy Pecore
3rd: Cheryl Funmaker
4th: Rita Kingswan
Jr Adult Mens Grass
1st: Sonny Demaroe
2nd: Damian Funmaker
3rd: Storm Whiteeagle
4th: Leland Youngbird
Jr. Adult Mens Traditional
1st: Elijah Leonard
2nd: Bryson Funmaker
3rd: Paul Roberts
4th: Emjay Whitecloud
Jr. Adult Mens Fancy
1st: Bubba Cleveland
2nd: Marcus Gardner, Jr
3rd: Craig Cleveland
Jr. Mens Woodland
1st: Marcus Winchester
2nd: Jordan Thompson
3rd: Jacob Blackdeer
4th: Ryan Hill
Jr. Womans Jingle
1st: Celina Hall
2nd: Emily Goodbear
3rd: Jordan Dominguez
4th: Kateri Busse
Jr. Woman Traditional
1st: Charish Toehay
2nd: Unpowicahpinwin Goodwill
3rd: Tianna Thompson
4th: Bianca Whitecloud
Jr. Womans Fancy
1st: Jovena ScabbyRobe
2nd: Megan Tucker
3rd: Kaliyah Bear
4th: Journey Brotherkton
Jr. Womans Applique
1st: Brittany Pelkey
2nd: Rochelle Mann
3rd: Elicia Leonard
4th: Joleece Pecore
Teen Girls Jingle
1st: Oaklyn St.John
2nd: Amyah Addison
3rd: ChyloCree Belisle
Teen Girls Applique
1st: Kaelyn Chasenah
2nd: Kaylen Topsky
3rd: Dianna Funmaker
Teen Girls Traditional
1st: Amari Funmaker
2nd: Dyan Keahna
3rd: Elise Leonard
Teen Girls Fancy
1st: Leila Cleveland
2nd: Taylena Houghton
3rd: Emma Lonelodge
Teen Boys Grass
1st: Cael Youngbear
2nd: Xavier Escamea
3rd: Corey Hindsley, Jr
Teen Boys Woodland
1st: Payton Roberts
2nd: Gene Nyte Yellowbird
3rd: Eldon Hindsley
Teen Boys Traditional
1st: Aison Funmaker
2nd: Elias Leonard
3rd: Aaron Addison
Teen Boys Fancy
1st: Jaden Painter
2nd: Barron Waupoose
3rd: Cadin Painter
Jr. Boys Grass
1st: Airian Murrufo
2nd: Emett WhiteEagle
3rd: Maanape Pamonicutt
Jr. Boys Traditional
1st: Abel Decorah
2nd: Matthew Cleveland
3rd: Lorenzo Jordan, jr
Jr. Boys Fancy
1st: Jeffrey Bearridge
2nd: Oliver Keahna
Jr. Boys Woodland
1st: Lerris Keahna
2nd: Bryson Grant
3rd: No-Ko-Se Hopinkah-Whitecloud
Jr. Girls Jingle
1st: Bree Scabbyrobe
2nd: Eliana Leonard
3rd: Sashana Walker
Jr. Girls Applique
1st: Rosella Walker
2nd: Cisalyn Chasenah
3rd: Sheri Boyd
Jr. Girls Traditional
1st: Wazoni Cloud
2nd: Iliana Smith
3rd: He-Les-Wv Hopinkah-Whitecloud
Jr. Girls Fancy
1st: Adrian Nicholas
2nd: Azalea Jeffeis
3rd: Wacahpi Luxon