Tribal members show their support at 3-point fundraiser for Chief Clayton Winneshiek

By Tim Wohlers

Members of the Ho-Chunk tribe held a fundraiser in Baraboo last weekend to raise money for their chief, Clayton Winneshiek, who has been battling illness. 
“Clayton used to help me when I was younger,” said event planner Julia White.  “So I thought it would be nice to give back to him.” 
The fundraiser took place on Oct. 6, at the House of Wellness Fitness and Aquatic Center.  There, scores of community members showed their support by donating money toward the chief’s past and future medical expenses.   
“He’s definitely a cared-about guy,” White said.  “So people don’t shy away from helping him.”   
White called it a ‘3-point’ fundraiser because of the three ways in which people could contribute.  Options included purchasing food from a bake sale, getting a plate of home-cooked food for $10, or bidding on an item at the silent auction. 
According to a coordinator of the event, at least one of the ideas came from watching what others had done to collect money during their fundraisers. 
“My mom had a bake sale for her group and they ended up raising a lot of money,” White said.  “So that’s one of the things we went with.” 
The meal served that day was prepared by tribal member Marlene Cloud, who works as a head cook at the TAU in Wisconsin Dells.  The organizers provided an easy explanation for the meal being chosen as a way to raise money. 
“We decided to do a meal because everybody has to eat at least once in the day,” White said.   “And everyone likes a good meal.” 
As for the silent auction, tribal members donated their works out of the goodness of their hearts.  Thanks to that generosity, over a thousand dollars was raised from the auction alone. 
“We knew we’d make money off the auction because some people do really nice beadwork,” White said.  “And even if they just donate one piece, we know we can get a good price off it.” 
All but two items were purchased at the auction.  Those items will be sent to Black River Falls, White said, to be sold at another fundraising event for the chief. 
“A hundred percent of it will go towards him,” White said.  “None of it’s going anywhere else.” 
At the end of the day, White said she was surprised with how much money had been raised in the fundraiser and that she had nearly doubled her goal of $1000.  For the bake sale brought in $330, the meal another $561, and the silent auction an impressive $1096 – for a total of $1,987. 
She said the results have given her optimism. 
“It lets me know that we did something right today,” White said.  “And I’d love to do it again, because it really made me feel better.  And I hope it made others feel better, too, knowing that they’re donating to a good cause.”