Ho, Ho, Ho

Ho-Chunk mythology

The Hocągara (Hochungara) or Hocąks (Ho-Chunks) are a Siouan-speaking Indian Nation originally from Wisconsin and northern Illinois, but due to forced emigration, they are also found in Nebraska, where about half the nation now lives. They are most closely related to the Chiwere peoples (the Ioway, Oto, and Missouria), and more distantly to the Dhegiha (Quapaw, Kansa, Omaha, Ponca, and Osage).

Migration Myth

In the story that follows, the Bear Clan assumes the foundation role for the whole nation, and when they land they find the nation's friendship tribe, the Menominee. The Bear Clan is strongly associated with the kaǧi, a term that denotes the raven and northern crow. It is also the name by which the Hocągara know the Menominee.

On account of his vision, a great Menominee (Kaǧi) chief commanded that all manner of supplies be assembled at a white sand beach on Lake Michigan. And when all this had been done and set in order, as the sun reached its zenith the vision came to life: in the pure blue sky of the eastern horizon a single dark cloud began to form and move irresistibly towards them. It was a great flock of ravens (kaǧi), spirit birds with rainbow plumage of iridescent colors. The instant that the first of these landed, he materialized into a naked, kneeling man. The Menominee chief said to his people, "Give this man clothing, for he is a chief." And the others landed in like fashion, and were given great hospitality. They were the Hocąk nation, and that is how they came to Red Banks.

Red Banks (Wisconsin) is the traditional homeland of the Hocąk Nation. It is situated on Green Bay, which the Hocągara called Te-rok, the "Within Lake". Lake Michigan as a whole was called Te-šišik, "Bad Lake", which may well have led the Algonquian peoples round about Lake Winnebago to call them "the people of the Bad Waters", or Winnibégo in Menominee.

Red Horn

The legend of Red Horn (also known as 'He Who Wears Human Heads as Earrings') is found in the oral traditions of the Pawnee (?), Ioway, and Ho-Chunk people (recorded by anthropologist Paul Radin around 1900). The saga of Red Horn depicts his adventure with Turtle and Storms-As-He-Walks (a thunderbird) who fight a race of red haired giants that have been killing Red Horn's people. Red Horn eventually took one of the giant women as a wife. Red Horn has been identified by archaeologists as one of the major mythic figures in Mississipian art, with numerous representations on Southeastern Ceremonial Complex artifacts. The mythic cycle of Red Horn and his sons has certain analogies with the Hero Twins mythic cycle of Mesoamerica.

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