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Ho-Chunk Community Center Opens in Madison

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WorakBugThe Ho-Chunk tribe celebrated the opening of a new community center in Madison, on May 20.  It has been named Teejop Hocira, meaning ‘Four Lakes House’ in Ho-Chunk, and it will house several offices of the Nation.
“This building will be something that will be helpful and commending for the community,” said tribal member Allen Cloud.  “That’s what this building is about.”
Cloud provided the opening prayer prior to lunch, which was served free-of-charge by the tribe.  He highlighted first the fact that it was raining outside, and said it was a blessing by the Creator – since water sustains life.
“It’s just a real joyous thing,” Cloud said.  “Our communities are starting to come alive.”
He prayed for people who were sick, those in mourning and all the tribe’s veterans.  He said he hopes that they can come home and be good people who will have the strength to take care of themselves, and to say no to drugs.
“Today is for our people,” Cloud said.  “Our communities of native people are being more helpful to themselves.”
After the meal, everyone gathered in the gymnasium for a cultural celebration that included performances by many of the area’s ethnic groups.  According to tribal member Brenda Neff, who will work in the new community center, their inclusion was important and part of the intended purpose of Teejop Hocira.
“We want this to be a multicultural destination,” Neff said, “for all ethnic groups in the area.”
The offices that have been set up inside the building include Ho-Chunk’s Madison-branch office, its language and culture office, a legislative office, the tribal aging unit, a health office and an AODA counseling office.
“It’s like the chamber of commerce for the Ho-Chunk people,” Cloud said.  “We can come here and find out what’s going on.”
Youth Services has also set up shop at the community center, which includes a youth classroom and even a youth kitchen.  There, the children could make after-school snacks if they get hungry.
“This building is a second home for people of the community,” Cloud said, “where they can come together and enjoy each other’s company.”  

The building’s hours have been set at Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.