The HoChunk Renaissance Project is dedicated to providing services to tribal members, primarily our children that will ensure opportunities to learn the HoChunk Language. Our purpose is to work for the major changes necessary to improve both personal and societal enrichment in our communities. We are committed to bringing our strengths together through language, culture and the establishment of our true HoChunk way of life. Through this project, the language and culture of the Winnebago tribe will be preserved and protected. The work facing the project is tremendous. However, we at HoChunk Renaissance are confident of achieving our goals. The project has begun.
The HoChunk Renaissance Project believes that with the resurgence of the language comes the revival of HoChunk cultural value that will help eradicate social ills and other aspects of life that inhibit the HoChunk people from realizing their full potential as a tribe.
The mission of the HoChunk Renaissance Project is to revitalize the HoChunk Language.
HoChunk Renaissance was founded in May 2001 with a mandate from the Tribal Council of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Despite a strong desire to teach the HoChunk language and culture, the program did not meet with immediate success. Neither the director nor the research assistant spoke HoChunk, and HoChunk Renaissance had trouble retaining a fluent speaker to teach the language.
In the fall of 2001, HoChunk Renaissance conducted a survey of the Winnebago residents. They learned that, while few people knew the HoChunk traditional ways, most if not all were interested in reviving their culture.
In early 2003, the original director resigned and Janet Bird was promoted to the director position. In April of that year, the Tribal Council met with Bird, new employee Beverly Snow Peterson and several community members. The Tribal Council challenged this group to create a viable plan and budget for the future of HoChunk Renaissance.
The HoChunk Renaissance planning group envisioned several teaching teams working to revive the HoChunk ways. Each team would consist of one fluent speaker/teacher, one apprentice with marginal language skills, and one support staff member. These groups would encourage the apprentices to improve their skills while the whole team taught HoChunk in the community.
The Tribal Council approved the budget and plan, and within a week, nine new employees signed on. HoChunk Renaissance began teaching classes community-wide and planning curricula for teaching in the schools that fall.
Three AmeriCorps VISTA workers also joined HoChunk Renaissance to work on tangential projects, such as the Cooperative HoChunk Audio Resource Project.
In the fall of 2003, the HoChunk Renaissance teaching terms completed an initial curriculum and began teaching language classes to students of all ages. Teaching teams offered classes at daycare and HeadStart facilities, public and private schools, and Little Priest College.
Curriculum Development - Program began developing curriculum in Summer 2015. Utilizing the ACTFL (American Council for Teaching a Foreign Language) guidelines by adapting them to the HoChunk language. The staff is currently working on the first step of a three module process. We are currently in the Novice low development stage. We have designated areas in our curriculum development for each staff member to include visual and audio for support.
Assessment developed for Novice Low speakers in January. Assessed children in Spring Semester to evaluate progress at the end of year.
Daily HoChunk Classes - still being taught at the local educational facilities including Little Priest Tribal College, Winnebago Public School, Winnebago High School, and St. Augustine's Indian Mission.
Daily Production of Materials - teachers are consistently developing language materials for the classroom instruction.
Utilizing Social Media - includes Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud and Quizlet.
Tribal building interior make over - including painting our walls, places old fragile equipment.
Native Voices Endowment Grant - Awarded in February 2016 - Will aid in creating digital videos and recordings.
Digital Computer Language Games - Currently finalizing a computer language game called "Who wants to be Zura Cu?" with more to follow.
HoChunk Vocab Builder App - A digital app that allows learners to download on their digital devices. The app is an extensive language app that covers a wide range of language topics.