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Ho-Chunk Nation Language Division’s Rapid Word Collection Workshop Helps Revitalize An Endangered Language


The Ho-Chunk Nation Language Division partnered up with The Language Conservancy (TLC) organization to help revitalize our endangered language.

The Ho-Chunk language is slowly diminishing due to the lack of the number of speakers that are in the tribe – currently less than approximately 50 fluent Ho-Chunk speakers. That being stated, the Language Division has asked for help to collect as many words as possible with TLC.

TLC is dedicated to rescuing the world’s endangered languages, restoring them to stability and health, and safeguarding them for future generations. The Language Conservancy helps prevent the extinction of languages by raising funds, by increasing the international public awareness of the language-loss crisis, creating language tools to preserve the culture, and by providing support to organizations and communities engaged in revitalizing their languages.

TLC was formed in 2005 as a response to the growing needs of Native American language communities and tribes for an organization dedicated to best-practice solutions to revitalizing languages in tribal communities.

The Rapid Work Collection Workshop began July 29 with one group in Black River Falls and one group in Mauston. The goal was to generate as much Ho-Chunk as possible that will be added to the lexicon, create dictionaries, and other resource materials.

Ho-Chunk elders, Language Division staff, and TLC surpassed their word goal by the end of day six. The ten-day workshop was spearheaded by Project Coordinator Henning Garvin.

In the future, members of the Ho-Chunk Nation will have access to the resources created during this workshop.

As of now, the Language Division has a collection of over 6,000 words in the lexicon pro database. The fundamental goal was to double that amount in two weeks with eminent speakers in the Ho-Chunk Nation.

The majority of elders have a strong understanding of this idea and have committed to a high intense sense of thinking and forming new words to create a more extensive database of the Ho-Chunk language.