‘Trying to maintain the identity of their culture’: Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Sauk County and Ho-Chunk Nation are celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day with a weekend full of events.

Celebration activities began Saturday morning with a prairie restoration.

“Today is a day of reclamation where we are working in the land around the idea of conserving, preserving and sustaining our natural resources,” Sauk County Board Chair Peter Vedro said.

A part of reclamation is reminding the community of its history as part of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

“There is an importance to the land and who we are as people and that we are still here and that we are still trying to make that important in our lives every day,” said Kristin WhiteEagle, a Ho-Chunk Nation representative.

WhiteEagle said the history of Yellow Thunder, a former leader of Ho-Chunk Nation, is often forgotten because of little-written knowledge and photos.

“Much of our history is orally translated and shared and carried on, and we don’t have a lot written about him,” WhiteEagle said. “Just being able to put together a little bit of photos and text in one place is beneficial to everyone.”

Kelly Logan painted a mural of Yellow Thunder and his wife that was completed by the community today.

The Ho-Chunk Nation and Sauk County are celebrating Indigenous People Day by coming together to finish an honorary painting of Yellow Thunder. #News3Now pic.twitter.com/OCXds8y1oU

— Gabriella Bachara (@GabbyBachara) October 12, 2019

“For the community, by the community,” Logan said. “I’m glad it’s going to be around in this area.”

The painting is intended to serve as a reminder of not only Yellow Thunder, but also indigenous history and culture.

“Understanding the mutual respect of how important it is that all people are celebrated, including the indigenous peoples and that they are still trying to maintain the identity of their culture and identity and language. It’s very important,” WhiteEagle said.

Monday is Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Events in Sauk County will continue through Monday, including experiencing Ho-Chunk Nation culture and traditions and a flag-raising ceremony.

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