15 Facts About Ho-Chunk


Ho-Chunk, known as Hoocagra or Winnebago, are a Siouan-speaking Native American people whose historic territory includes parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.

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Today, Ho-Chunk people are enrolled in two federally recognized tribes, the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

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Ho-Chunk Nation is working on language restoration and has developed a Hoocak-language iOS app.

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Since 1988, it has pursued a claim to the Badger Army Ammunition Plant as traditional territory; the area has since been declared surplus, but the Ho-Chunk have struggled with changes in policy at the Department of the Interior.

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Ho-Chunk was the dominant tribe in its territory in the 16th century with a population estimated at several thousand.

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Ho-Chunk suffered severe population loss in the 17th century to a low of perhaps 500 individuals.

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Ho-Chunk speak a Siouan language, which they believe to be given to them by their creator, Ma'una.

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Ho-Chunk's evidence derived from a culture based on corn cultivation, civilization type, and mound building following the receding ice shield.

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Ho-Chunk accounts said the victims turned yellow, which is not a trait of smallpox.

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The Ho-Chunk had been helped at one time by many of their enemies, in particular the Illinois Confederacy, during their time of suffering and famine, aggravated by the loss of their hunters.

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The Ho-Chunk were then relieved of that pressure on their territory and after 1741, most returned inland.

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Ho-Chunk women were responsible for growing, gathering, and processing food for their families, including the cultivation of varieties of corn and squash, in order to have different types through the growing season; and gathering a wide variety of roots, nuts, and berries, as well as sap from maple trees.

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Ho-Chunk have established the Hoocak Waaziija Haci Language and Culture Division, which has developed materials to teach and restore use of the Hocak language and other elements of their culture.

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Ho-Chunk Nation established a written constitution and is governed by an elected council.

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In 1988, the Ho-Chunk Nation filed a timely claim for transfer of the Badger Army Ammunition Plant, which was to be declared surplus under federal regulations.

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