At the confluence of Turtle Creek and the Rock River there once was a very large Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) settlement called Ke-Chunk (Kečąk) or Turtle Village. The Ho-Chunk lived all along Turtle Creek until 1832. “We Once Lived Here: The Ho-Chunk at Ke-Chunk Village” series features a variety of programs held throughout the year at Nature At The Confluence that highlights the culture and heritage of historic and contemporary Native American Indians.  

Kečąk: We Once Lived Here | The Ho-Chunk At Ke-Chunk Village 2019 Learning Series

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Ho-Chunk Flute Making Workshop with Bill Quackenbush, Ho-Chunk Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, 3-day course held April 5-7. During this 3-day instructional course you’ll learn about the history of the Native American courting flute, then you’ll be guided on how to make, then play your very own flute. Held Fri. April 5, 5:00-9:00 p.m.; Sat. April 6, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; Sun., April 7, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Limited to 14 participants, cost is $150 and includes all materials to make your own handmade flute, and you leave with a beautiful Ho-Chunk style Courting Flute and will have the skills to play your flute.
Registration required – register at this link.

Nature Kids: Ho-Chunk Storytelling | Celebration of National Storytelling Day, Saturday,  April 27, 10:00-11:00 a.m., Oral storytelling is one way that Ho-Chunk culture, traditions, and language are passed down from generation to generation. The featured story is the “The Ho-Chunk Courting Flute”. Storytelling and an art project are part of this program for ages 7-11. Free program * Learn more.

Walk With Me Among My Homelands: Hear the Echos of My Ancestors, Saturday, May 4, 2019, 1:00 p.m., Janice Rice, a member of Ho-Chunk Nation, invites you to listen and envision a walk amidst the beauty of her ancestral homelands. Rice is a retired librarian with a focus on American Indian resources, literature, culture, history, language preservation & revitalization. $5 suggested donation. Learn more.

Who Once Lived Here? |  Ke-Chunk Village At The Confluence – Offered on June 8, August 11, September  7 at 1 p.m.. At the confluence of Turtle Creek and the Rock River there once was a very large Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) settlement called Ke-Chunk. Come learn what we know about Turtle Village and why people called this area home. We’ll start indoors with a visual presentation, and then walk the confluence property to learn more (less than quarter mile). Presented by Therese Oldenburg, Executive Director, Nature At The Confluence.  $5 suggested donation. Program for all ages. Learn more.

A Celebration of American Indian Culture through Music and Dance, Sunday, July 14, 1:00 p.m. Dressed in Jingle Dress regalia, Kim Sigafus, an Ojibwa author and speaker, will share her American Indian heritage and culture through music and dance. She will explain the importance of Native ceremonies and why music is a key component to them. The audience will be invited to learn traditional songs in the Native language and can participate in a pow wow circle where the audience can sing, play a rain stick or drum, and dance. Kim Sigafus is an internationally published award-winning Ojibwa author and speaker. Her family is from White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. Kim’s Ojibwa name, Bekaadiziikwe, means “Quiet Woman.” Kim is an Illinois Humanities Road Scholar and this program is supported by the Illinois Humanities Road Scholar program. Free program for all ages. Learn more.

Nature Kids: What Did the Ho-Chunk Grow? Saturday, August 17, 10:00 a.m. – Kids will learn about the crops grew by the Ho-Chunk Native Americans at Ke-Chunk Village,  and find out where they had their garden beds along Turtle Creek. How did they prepare and store their food for the winter? They’ll see what is growing in the Native American Heritage Garden. Free program for ages 7-11.* Learn more.

Nature Kids: Who Lived In These Woods?  Saturday, September 7, 10:00 a.m. – Kids will learn who has made the confluence area at Turtle Creek and the Rock River home over the last 200 years, both humans and animals. We’ll try to find answers to the questions: Why did they live here? What did they live in? After learning about the traditional Ho-Chunk dwellings called “Ciporoke” (chee-poe-doe-kay) used at Ke-Chunk Village, we’ll build a scale model together. Free program for ages 7-11.* Learn more.

A Peek Into The American Indian Way of Life: In Celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day, Sunday, October 13, 1:00 p.m.   Kim Sigafus, an Ojibwa author and speaker, will invite people into the world of the American Indian to discover what it once was to be Native, and what it means to be Native now.  Kim will be dressed in her traditional Native regalia, and will present on Native culture through oral traditions, language, and history. She will discuss Native encampment life and will drum and sing an Ojibwa lullaby. Kim’s family is from White Earth Reservation in Minnesota and her Ojibwa name, Bekaadiziikwe, means “Quiet Woman.” Kim is an Illinois Humanities Road Scholar and this program is supported by the Illinois Humanities Road Scholar program. Free program for all ages.

Nature Kids: Migration Through the Seasons: In Celebration of National American Indian Heritage Month, Saturday, November 2, 1:00 p.m. – Why do animals and people migrate? You’ll learn about where wildlife goes when it becomes cold, as well as where the Ho-Chunk people who once lived at Ke-Chunk (Kečąk) Village migrated to in the fall and winter.  Free program for ages 7-11 * Learn more.

 * Nature Kids programs are offered at no cost to the public through a grant from Col. Robert H.Morse Foundation.

In addition to these special programs, visitors can walk Nature At The Confluence Campus to learn more about the Ho-Chunk culture in the following exhibits.

Ke-Chunk Village Interpretive Sign: A new interpretive sign that tells the story of the people that made the Confluence area home before 1832 will be installed in 2019. This sign is funded by a grant from Visit Beloit.

Ho-Chunk Sculpture Project Display: Inside the learning center you can learn about a proposed sculpture project at Nature At The Confluence by Truman Lowe, a nationally acclaimed artist and member of the Wisconsin Ho-Chunk Nation. It would be an outdoor sculpture inspired by traditional dwellings called “Ciporoke” (chee-poe-doe-kay) found at Ke-Chunk, a Winnebago Ho-Chunk village which existed ca. 1830 along Turtle Creek. This work of contemporary art would honor the Ho-Chunk Native Americans who once cared for the land at the confluence of Turtle Creek and the Rock River.

Native American Heritage Garden in the Learning Gardens: At one time, seed saving was a necessity for Native American Indians. They carefully selected and stored the best seeds from their harvests, ensuring they had seed for planting in subsequent years. Until 1832 the Ho-Chunk people lived on this land and tended large gardens to feed the over 600 people who lived at Ke-Chunk Village along Turtle Creek.  In the Native American Heritage Garden you’ll find plants that represent the crops they grew and you’ll learn about the importance of other plants in Native American cultures.

Kečąk: We Once Lived Here | The Ho-Chunk At Ke-Chunk Village Program Series is supported by a grant from Visit Beloit.