Plans for General Council 2021 under review

By Ardith Van Riper

     The Ho-Chunk Nation Office of General Council (OGC) reviews options for the 2021 Annual Meeting of the General Council as the Delta Variant levels continue to rise in Wisconsin and around the United States.

     The OGC and District Coordinators Logistics Workgroup (DCLWG), consider venues for the tentative September 19 Annual Meeting.  Their current options are Ho-Chunk Gaming – Wisconsin Dells for a streaming location and Warner Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin for an in-person event.

     “It’s important to announce that we are taking and making proactive necessary changes, as our priority is the Health and Wellbeing of Tribal Members, and that we are also highly favor an in-person meeting.  However, we are not in control of the COVID-19, the Delta Variants, and COVID’s other variants,” stated General Council Advocate Cari A. Fay.

     The estimated quorum is 1,228 and if an in-person event occurs, then COVID-19 preventative measures are required for attendees.  This requirement means masks for everyone, physical distancing, and hand sanitizer will be available.  In addition, routine entry procedures such as tribal identification and no one under the age of 18 allowed.

     No Ho-Chunk Nation department tables this year.  Departments are encouraged to work together to create one gift bag for attendees. 

     Currently, there is no payment for participants.  If this changes later, then payment will be issued to RAPIDPAY Cards.  The Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Treasury will mail a check to those who do not have a RAPIDPAY Card.

     During an August 10 site visit, Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Health Executive Director Kiana Beaudin approved the Warner Stadium for the General Council in-person venue, along with online/virtual platform attendance.  Normal occupancy at Warner Stadium is over 7,000 and with physical distancing quorum is achievable with the large space. 

     If an in-person event is not an option due to the Delta Variant, a virtual event will occur.  The OGC and DCLWG are reviewing audio-visual vendors’ proposals.  Their goal is to have one platform so that participants do not have to switch between screens.

     For Option B, the OGC collaborates with satellite offices to help keep Tribal Members in their respective communities and limit COVID exposure.  Branch offices and gyms in Wittenberg, Black River Falls, Tomah, Baraboo, and Madison may provide a location and helpers to virtual participants.  The OGC also reached out to outside agencies in other areas for assistance.  The buildings’ internet will be boosted for the day to ensure a steady connection. 

     Additionally, a mailing vote to amend General Council Meeting Procedures will happen if the event is virtual.  The mailing vote includes a resolution that provides for online/virtual platforms utilizing personal electronic technology devices.  The OGC will publish this resolution after a complete legal review.

     The OGC encourages all voting-age Tribal Members to keep their mailing address current with the Enrollment Office to ensure they receive a ballot.

     In order for the mail vote to take place, the Annual Meeting date may change from September 19 to sometime in November.

     In the meantime, the OGC encourages General Council Resolutions to be submitted as soon as possible to  This request ensures legal review can be conducted and edits can be made before releasing to Tribal Members.

     There are currently two resolutions the WG has under legal review.  The first is the Amended General Council Meeting Procedures.  The second is the Reaffirmation of the General Council Agency with Newly Revised Infrastructure of the GCA By-Laws.  This second resolution details transparency and accountability with four GCA Agents and will be published after a completed legal review.

     Updates for the 2021 Annual Meeting of the General Council will be published in the Hocak Worak; posted on Facebook via the Ho-Chunk Nation, OGC, and Hocak Worak pages; and on the Ho-Chunk Nation and Hocak Worak websites.