Chandler Brindley | WXOW19 | July 18, 2023
The Ho-Chunk Nation is in the process of revitalizing its language. This is an ongoing effort between the Ho-Chunk Language Division and The Language Conservancy to preserve the Ho-Chunk language and extend it to a younger generation.
Black River Falls, Wis. (WXOW) – The Ho-Chunk Nation is in the process of revitalizing its language.
This is an ongoing effort between the Ho-Chunk Language Division and The Language Conservancy to preserve the Ho-Chunk language and extend it to a younger generation.
Each day consists of younger generations of Ho-Chunk recording words and phrases onto an app that will be available to the public and used within the Ho-Chunk nation.
The recording sessions consists of a male and female voice guided by a Ho-Chunk speaker for accuracy and expertise.
Casey Brown, Ho-Chunk Nation Public Relations Officer said that the revitalization is the extension of the frequently used Ho-Chunk dictionary.
“The dictionary is very popular and getting used a lot,” he said. “Especially our youth which is very important because we’re trying to get some of our first language speakers, people who have spoken it since they were children as well as elders that know the language very well and know the nuance of it. We have had them speaking it into the dictionary and now we’re using those tools in order to get towards youth. They’re going to be on there phone so they can have an app on there phone.”
The Ho-Chunk language is unlike the English language. The Ho-Chunk language is based off generational traditions.
“Native languages are oral tradition,” Brown said. “They are taught by hearing it. We didn’t have writing pre-colonial. Hearing it and the nuance of the speakers both male and female is where you get those little ticks and little interesting bits on how to properly say the words and the emphasis on it.”
Karolann Mann, a contributor to the recording of the words of the language onto the app said that her native language is untold outside of the Ho-Chunk nation.
“Not many people know of the language and I feel like more people should because it’s and important aspect of our culture as a Ho-Chunk Native American tribe.”
According to UW Madison, there are only 80 fluent speakers of the Ho-Chunk language remaining. The Ho-Chunk nation has 7,800 tribal members according to Education Coordinator Jessi Falcon of the Ho-Chunk Language Division. This has presented a challenge when trying to bring back the language.
The nation hopes that these efforts get younger generations speaking the Ho-Chunk language again through the implementation of the app.
This round of revitalization recording efforts will continue through Friday.