Hocąk Chiefs, New York City, 1865
Front Row: Hųgᵋxų́nųga (Young Prophet or Little Priest the elder), Wakąjagiwįxka (Whirling Thunder[bird]),
White Breast (below), Little Decorah, Šoǧogᵋnįka (Little Hill, below).
Back Row: Major F. J. Dewitt, Trader; Robert Wilkinson Furnas, Winnebago Agent (Future Governor of Nebraska);
Alex Payer (1, 2), Translator; Michel St. Cyr, Translator (below).
R. A. Lewis
Hųgᵋxų́nųga (Little Priest the Elder),
Little Priest the Younger and Henry Decorah, of Co. A of the Omaha Scouts,
Nebraska, ca. 1865
The name Hųgᵋxų́nųga is from Hųk-xų́nų-ga, where hųk can be translated as "chief, priest, prophet"; and xų́nų as "young, little." These may be recombined to give many different permutations of his name, the two most common being "Little Priest" and "Young Prophet." He was a member of the Bear Clan, and was believed to have been blessed with Grizzly Bear Powers. In the 1840s he succeeded his father (of the same name) to become the last War Chief of the Hocąk nation. He was accused of participating in the Sioux Uprising of 1862, but by 1864 he was with Stufft's Independent Company, Indian Scouts, US Volunteers fighting the Sioux in Sully's Expedition. In 1866, with the Winnebago contingent of the Omaha Scouts, he single-handedly engaged 32 Lakota, taking five scalps, but receiving a wound in the leg that later proved fatal. In Nebraska the tribal college and the annual powwow are named in his honor. Two stories (1, 2) in this collection are about his exploits.
Left to Right: Front Row (Kneeling): Nįskaga (White Water); Rolling Thunder, a.k.a. Cugiga (Spoon – see above); His Father, Cugiga (Spoon Decorah – see below); Second Row (Seated): Wasuhimąnįga (Walking Hail); His Brother, Wakąjaziga (Yellow Thunder[bird] – see 1, 2, 3); Back Row (Standing): Mąną́pĕnįka (Little Soldier – see above), a.k.a. "Dandy," the Son of Four Legs, above).
Alice C. Fletcher served as Special Agent to the Winnebago, 1887-1889. Meepe and Martha used to pitch and keep the tent for the allotting agents in the field. They are standing before the house of the agent to the Winnebagos. The photo to the right is of Mary Ann, a friend of Alice Fletcher.
Hocąk Chiefs. Left to Right: Back Row (Standing): Little Creek, Winneshiek, Judge; Front Row (Seated and Kneeling): Blue Wing, Decorah (Wąkąhaga ?), Yellow Thunder, George Goodvillage, K[Writing Cut Off].
Since Yellow Thunder died in 1874, the photo must predate that year.
Group includes Felicia Rivers; Grace and Angel Decora (see below); Edna Traversie (Dakota, from Cheyenne River); Fanny Earth; Mamie Snow; and others. Angel Decorah appears to be the second from the left in the seated row.
The caption on the right hand picture reads: "Levi St. Cyr. Entered Carlisle 1887, aged 16. Graduated 1891; learned the Printer's trade, and is now Assistant Printer in the Carlisle School Office - Is also a member of the band."
Suzie Decorah (Far Right) with Her Son Henry T., Her Sister and Cousin, 1900
Valerie Guimaraes says, "This is a picture of my grandfather Henry T. Decorah (little boy on the right without the cradle board) with his mother, Susie (woman on the right). My great-aunt Adelia found this picture in the archives at the Wisconsin Historical Society years ago. My grandfather was born in 1899 and so this picture was taken around 1900. Susie is with her sister and cousin."
Right to Left: Smoky Smoke, a Menominee; Yellow Thunder, son of the old chief; Bill Decorah (with club),
and his wife and child at a camp near Linen Mill, close to the south bank of the river Baraboo (1905).
John Harrison, 1909 Wakąjakiriga, Thunderbird Coming (1847-ca. 1916)
In his youth he was a member of Company “A” of the Omaha Scouts, and later rose to the rank of Captain of the police. He was a source for Dorsey, Gatschet, and Radin. For his stories in this collection, see Contributors.
Dr. Alphonse Gerend
John Mike's Spirit Stone
"My stone animal was kept by my great grandfathers. My grandfather kept it, beginning in 1809, until his death. I have the possession of the animal since my father died, in 1908, he being then 99 years old. This animal is helpful to the members of our families. We ask it for strength and power and for wild game. He replies by giving us these and power. He gives us these through his spirit."
U.S. Census Taker Enumerating the Hocągara near Waupaca, Wisconsin
John Rave was an important informant for Paul Radin. See Contributors.
Charles Van Schalck Collection
Baitt and Parsons
Betsy Thunder, Hocąk Medicine Woman,
Bird Clan, February 6, 1913
A Young Man and His Dog
"When the U.S. government ordered Wisconsin Winnebagoes to migrate to Nebraska, Betsy and others hid out in the hills of Jackson County. She lived in Wisconsin her entire life because she felt god had wanted it that way." — Victoria Brown
Dogs played a very important part in Hocąk life, not only as companions of the hunt, but as members of the family. They were considered equivalent to human beings, and were thus, from time to time, offered as a human sacrifice to the Spirits and then eaten.
Angel De Cora was an accomplished artist who was published in many magazines and books of the time. She was a member of the Thunderbird Clan, and the Decorah family, heriditary chiefs, descended from Sabrevoir de Carrie and Hąboguwįga, the only known female chief of the Hocągara. Her husband, who was half Sioux, was (ironically) the first head coach of the Washington Redskins. For a photo of Angel Decorah at age 10, see above.
George Howard "Chief" Johnson (1886-1922)
Major League Baseball pitcher for the Cinncinati Reds and the Kansas City Packers (1913-1915).
Lillian Margaret St. Cyr, 1914 Ahušujᵋwįga, "Red Wing" (1884-1974)
Lillian St. Cyr
in "Squaw Man," 1914
Lillian St. Cyr with Her Husband,
James Young Deer (Johnson)
Lillian St. Cyr performed in more than 35 short Western films from 1908-1921. She became a Hollywood star by appearing in the lead role in Cecil B. DeMille's first film, "The Squaw Man." She and her husband Young Deer were recognized as Hollywood's first "power couple."
He was born in Tomah, Wisconsin. Whirling Thunder pursued a career with the Boy Scouts. He was a member of the Order of the Arrow and Vice-President of the Indian Council Fire. He was received by King Christian X when he visited Denmark for an Indian presentation.
"Princess O-Me-Me, a Chippewa; Sun Road, a Pueblo; and Chief Whirling Thunder, a Winnebago, looking over Chicago's skyline from the roof of the Hotel Sherman." 3 October 1929.
Chief Frank Beaver, Rep. Karl Stefans, and William Davis
"Washington, D.C., July 5, 1939. Congressman Karl Stefans of Nebraska conferred with tribesmen of the Winnebago Reservation over his bill to provide compensation for members of the Winnebago Tribe for lands which the Indians were forced to leave in Wisconsin in 1863, ... and feels that Winnebagos should be compensated for their lands."
His clan name was Wonąǧirehųka, "War Chief", a Warrior Clan name. Henry Roe Cloud (1881-1950) was an educator, college administrator, official in the Office of Indian Affairs, Presbyterian minister, and reformer. The first Native American admitted to Yale University.
Mitchel Red Cloud, jr.
Mitchel Red Cloud, jr.
Won the Medal of Honor in the Korean War. Mitchell Red Cloud Jr., from Wisconsin, was a corporal in Company E., 19th Infantry Regiment, in Korea. "With utter fearlessness he maintained his firing position until severely wounded by enemy fire. Refusing assistance he pulled himself to his feet and wrapping his arm around a tree continued his deadly fire again, until he was fatally wounded. This heroic act stopped the enemy from overrunning his company's position ..."
George LaMère was born in 1900 at Winnebago, Nebraska. He had an extraordinary voice, having sung on Broadway before winning a scholarship to the University of Miami on the strength of an audition. He graduated with honors, and was on the faculties of Hope College and Carson Indian School. He was Charles Sanford Skilton's chief collaborator in his "Indianist" music. He was the featured singer in the Standing Rock performances throughout his adult life. He died in 1956.
Bob (Robert William) Harrison (b. 1927)
Bob Harrison is the grandson of John Harrison (above). He was the first American Indian to have played in the NBA. Bob Harrison had a distinguished career with Minneapolis Lakers (1949–1953), Milwaukee / St. Louis Hawks (1953–1956), Syracuse Nationals (1956–1958), and played in the 1956 All Star game. He later coached at Kenyon College and Harvard University.
Reuben Snake (1937-1993), Snake Clan
Joba Chamberlain (b. 1983), Buffalo Clan
Hocąk tribal chairman, environmentalist, writer, singer and national chairman of the American Indian Movement.
Major League Baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, and Cleveland Indians.
Jimmy Smith sings at drum (center). Ho-Chunk community center, Wisconsin Rapids vicinity, Wood Co., Wisconsin, Dec. 1981.
Ben Bearskin, Jr. (Nebraska Winnebago) Intertribal powwow, Wisconsin, 1985.
Jimmy Smith, “Coming Blue Sky,”
a.k.a. Rev. James Elliott Smith (10 Feb. 1933 - 5 May 2000)
Benjamin John "Ben" Bearskin Jr., Hąbregimą̄nį (1952-2013)
NAC leader. Born in Winnebago, Nebraska. Resided in Cranmore (rural Wisconsin Rapids), Wisconsin.
He taught NA culture at Indian Community School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1988-2007. MC in NAC. Head singer, Bearskin (Winnebago) Drum/head dancer/head judge at various powwows in Wisconsin and Nebraska.
Truman Lowe (b. 1944)
Bronson Koenig (b. 1994)
Internationally famed artist, and professor; winner of the Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award.
A University of Wisconsin basketball star, "the most notable Native American men’s basketball player in the nation." He is also a prominent activist.
Sharice Davids and Her Mother, 2009
Sharice Davids in Martial Arts
Sharice Davids at the Podium
Sharice Davids Campaigning, 2018
Sharice Davids (b. 1980) was raised by her mother, Crystal Herriage, who had a career in the U. S. Army. She earned a BA degree in Business Administration from University of Missouri, Kansas City in 2007, and a JD degree from Cornell Law School in 2009. She pursued a martial arts career from 2006-2013. After working in community development with the Lakota, she became a White House Fellow at the end of the Obama Administration. In 2018, she was the first Native American elected to Congress, representing the 3rd congressional district of Kansas in the United States House of Representatives.
The 1898 Transmississippi Exposition, Omaha, Nebraska
Cenąžį́ga = Standing Buffalo (David McCluskey), ca. 1870
Che-nah-zi-gah was arrested for assisting the Dakota during the outbreak of 1862, but later released. David McCluskey is listed as a private in Stufft's Independent Company, Indian Scouts, US Volunteers. He saw action during the Sully Campaign against the Lakota in 1864, and is the author of a large pictograph depicting the fighting that took place during the Battle of the Badlands. The caption of this picture describes him as "a celebrated dancer."
The explanation asssociated with the photo says, "Pos-Ka-Ka or White Face, Winnebago celebrated for the size of his nose." The name is actually, pa, "nose"; ska, "white"; and -ga, a suffix indicating a personal name.
Jim Big Winnebago
Big Winnebago had married a Dakota woman, and was charged with participating in the Sioux Uprising of 1862, but later acquitted. "Big Winnebago" is a translation of Hocągᵋxetega, which the Dakota rendered as Otonkatonka.
This photograph is entitled "Green Cloud," which several Indian censuses show to be a translation ofMąxícoga. Mąxí is ambiguous between "cloud" and "sky," and the word co covers the spectrum from blue through green. The photograph was taken in Sioux City, Iowa. In the Sioux City directories the Hamilton-Hoyt Studio is listed only once in 1875-1876.
A Group of Men in Traditional Clothing
Blackhawk (q.v.) is seen seated at the far right. The photo appears to have been before 1875.
Taylor's Scrapbook describes this scene as, "Winnebago and Omaha Indian Council." This council was held in Nebraska between Winnebago leaders including Standing Bear, and Omaha leaders including Yellow Smoke, with Superintendent of Indian Affairs Samuel McPherson Janney in 1871. Another photograph in this set is entitled, "Council between Winnebago and Omaha tribes with Superintendent Janney in Nebraska in 1871." The man standing in front of the horseman (Yellow Smoke ?) appears to be addressing the convocation. The man with the upright feathers standing behind the table is Standing Buffalo (q.v., 1, 2, 3, 4).
Emma Big Bear Bronze, Showing Her with Basket Weaving Materials at the Mississippi River Sculpture Park on St. Feriole Island, Prairie Du Chien, Wisc.
Emma Big Bear (1869-1968) is famous as a master basket weaver, but was also probably the last Hocąk living a traditional Hocąk lifestyle in northeast Iowa. Her father was Big Bear (1, 2) and her mother was Mary Blue Wing, the daughter of Chief Ahúcogá (1, 2). She is also said to be the (great-)grandaughter of Wakąhaga (1, 2).