The Ho-Chunk Culture: Bringing Greater Awareness to the Dominant Culture
Hansen Sherman, Anne
University of Wisconsin--Stout
Bigony, Beatrice A.
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The Ho-Chunk people of Wisconsin are part of this state's great history; yet, so many who live here are ignorant about their culture and belief system. The ignorance leads to ethnocentrism by the dominant culture. As a result of ethnocentrism, the Ho-Chunk people are often underserved by the helping professions. Many Ho-Chunk people of today run into difficulties when attempting to receive services from therapists, doctors (and others in the medical field), social workers, teachers, and others who hold authority in white society. While often well-meaning, the professionals lack understanding about who the Ho-Chunk people are, how they communicate and what makes up their family system. The researcher has completed a review of the literature on the HoChunk people and other Native Americans, along with seven interviews with Wisconsin Ho-Chunk people. Strong spiritual and family ties for Native Americans resonated throughout the material acquired. Other issues discussed include the Ho-Chunk historically, the clan system, homosexuality, misunderstanding by the dominant culture and the travesties incurred by Native Americans from the boarding school phenomenon and alcohol.