[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                    November 27, 2009  
People

Ho-Chunk share history, culture during Native American Heritage Month

By Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

During the Fort McCoy Native American Heritage Month observance Nov. 12, representatives of the Ho-Chunk Nation noted many aspects of their heritage and history intersect with the Fort McCoy community.

Photo: Members of the Ho-Chunk Nation demonstrate a ceremonial dance during a Native American Heritage Month observance at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Allan Harding)
Members of the Ho-Chunk Nation demonstrate a ceremonial dance during a Native American Heritage Month observance at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Allan Harding)

Robert Mann of the Ho-Chunk Nation told the audience members that the Ho-Chunk ancestors were great warriors.

“A career in the military is held in high esteem, and our veterans always are held in high regard like those at Fort McCoy,” Mann said. “We have an appreciation of love and respect for servicemembers (who are today’s warriors).”

People who are interested in seeing more of the Ho-Chunk history on display are encouraged to attend an “Honor the Warrior” Pow-wow over the Memorial Day weekend held in Black River Falls, Wis.

Among the great Ho-Chunk warriors/veterans was Cpl. Mitchell Red Cloud, Jr. Red Cloud received three purple hearts during his duty in South Korea. He was killed near Inchon Nov. 5, 1950, but saved a lot of lives, too. For his heroic actions, he was a recipient of the Medal of Honor.

A camp in South Korea is named in his honor, as is a ship, the USNS Red Cloud.

Red Cloud also is remembered for his valor with a highway marker a few miles east of Black River Falls and a large monument in Decorah Cemetery, which is located at the nearby Indian Mission. Many of Red Cloud’s medals are on display at American Legion Post 129 in Black River Falls.

Photo: Members of the Ho-Chunk Nation provide a rhythmic beat at the Native American Heritage Month observance. (Photo by Allan Harding)
Members of the Ho-Chunk Nation provide a rhythmic beat at the Native American Heritage Month observance.
(Photo by Allan Harding)

The history of the Ho-Chunk Nation and Fort McCoy also intersect on the installation. The Ho-Chunk Nation and Fort McCoy entered into a memorandum of understanding in 2000, which helps ensure the appropriate treatment of sacred sites and/or traditional cultural projects of the Ho-Chunk Nation found on land under Army management at Fort McCoy, Mann said.

Lance Long of the Ho-Chunk Nation, who is Mann’s grandson, introduced a number of Ho-Chunk Nation members who represented the traditional dress and others in American Legion jackets, representing military service. The ensemble used music to explain the clothing and cultural aspects of the Ho-Chunk Nation to the audience.

A major component of the performance was the big drum providing a rhythmic beat. The male dancers wore bells on their regalia, which provided a ringing complement as they danced to the beat of the drum.

The Ho-Chunk members sang several songs, including the Ho-Chunk version of the national anthem and a song to honor the Army to conclude the presentation.

For more information about ethnic observances in the Fort McCoy community, call the Equal Opportunity adviser at 608-388-3246.

 

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