The Madison Common Council on Tuesday officially designated Friday, November 23 to honor the people who first lived here.
It’s been an annual tradition for many years in the Ho-Chunk Nation to celebrate Ho-Chunk heritage on the day after Thanksgiving, and the day has been officially recognized by the City of Madison for the last few years as well.
“It’s the acknowledgement of our history here as a nation, that we have been here since time immemorial and continue to be here and I think that acknowledgement is important,” said Alder Arvina Martin, the lead sponsor of this year’s resolution. Martin is the first member of the Ho-Chunk Nation to serve on the Madison Common Council.
This year was different, though — for the first time, the resolution was been introduced in the Ho-Chunk language, a language Martin is still learning.
“Haa, hanac hinįkaragiwi, Hoocąk raašra Hohapjikerega hįgaire. Hoocąkra siireja Teejoopeja haciirena. Hąąpte’e mąąnąregi anąga Hoocąk ho’ira ha’ehihakšene,” Martin read, which translates to, “Hello I greet you all. My Hoocąk name is Hohapjikere. The Hoocąk have been living in Madison since long ago. Today I will be talking about the land and the Hoocąk way of life.”
Video by Madison Alder Allison Martinson. Published with permission.
“I know I messed up a lot of the pronunciations … but I’m learning,” Martin said in an interview Wednesday.
Martin is learning the language through a new flexible program that aims to preserve a very complex language with a dwindling number of fluent speakers.
“It was important to me to have our language spoken on the floor and have it entered into the record, being that was the original language spoken here,” Martin said.
Martin said her language teacher, Shane YellowThunder, helped with the translation.
“I am not there yet because I’m very early on in my learning process, and he was the one who came up with the language and what we could say that would be something … meaningful but also appropriate,” she said. “I’m pretty thankful to him for doing that.”