Wazaniwira, Macek zige watum wi gaja. Relatives we are well on our way into another year. As we made our trek across another cold portion of our annual cycle and now Mother Earth is coming back to becoming fully awake, like her, each of our Spirits be rejuvenated. As Ho-Chunk Nation Government continues to be a “Work in Progress,” the Spirit of the new year also rejuvenates each of our elected and appointed officials in all of our Branches Government.
For the Executive Branch, it has been a very busy time. All the Departments have been working together to make sure services are continuing to the best of our abilities. Within that, a Strategic Plan is being developed which lays out where each Department is today in regards to the purpose of each department within the Executive Branch. It also gives the direction we have been going the past 4 years and into the future. It is a document that can be and should be updated periodically as our Great Ho-Chunk Nation is a “Work in Progress”.
There is always so much to get accomplished in planning for our future, to make sure what our xoke (our elders) did for us and what can be done in continuing to
carry out their philosophies and direction for the welfare of their children, grandchildren (which just so happens to be us) and for one another. Like our xoke, we must be able and ready to adapt and change with our surroundings but still maintain who we are with our Language and our Ceremonial Ways of Life.
Our language Program has made large strides in the past 4 years to make a solid foundation for the future. I hear young adults conversing with one another in our Ho-Chunk language which is a wonderful feeling to my Spirit, I also had a chance to observe a Ho-Chunk ballgame, which is an innovative way to use our language. We have come a long way with the thought one of our Elders had in wanting to begin a Ho-Chunk Language Program. I was part of a Ho-Chunk Language Program as a young person in the Indian Mission here in Black River Falls. There has been the realization of the need we had in making sure our Sacred Language will be spoken in the future days.
In the world today, there are about 7 billion people give or take a few, out of that there are at least 7800 Ho-Chunk Tribal Members. If possible put that in perspective, out of that, we have maybe 60 speakers that heard our language since birth and can speak it today like the English language is spoken by the majority of people. We are definitely a special and unique Nation. We have a ways to go to be like those few 60 speakers but it can be done. As a Nation, it is all of our responsibility, not just the ones in the Language Division. They can make the tools available and some programs, overall, we all need to make the time to become a speaker. Someday we will not need this Program, we will all be speakers and within the Ho-Chunk Nation, the Ho-Chunk Language will be our 1st Language.
Even with this share point, it gives us another way of communicating, all as a way of adapting to our surroundings. As a Ho-Chunk Tribal Member trying to follow the footsteps of those that made a way for us, think about their words spoken and their actions to guide us into the next cycles made by Great Spirit, Mauna with confidence, like our xoke.
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