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Winnebago Powwow
A Local Legacy

Have you ever been to a powwow? If you went to Winnebago, Nebraska, in July, you'd have a chance.

For five days every July, the Ho-Chunk people hold a powwow in Winnebago. A powwow is an Indian social gathering that usually includes dance and music. The Ho-Chunk Nation is a group of Indians, also known as the Winnebago, who originally lived in the Wisconsin area. They farmed and hunted bison. Beginning in the early 19th century, the United States government forced the Ho-Chunk to give up portions of their land, and they were moved to Iowa in 1840. For the next 25 years, the U.S. government made the Ho-Chunk move again and again, from Iowa to Minnesota to South Dakota. Finally, they were allowed to settle in Nebraska, though many eventually returned to Wisconsin.

The Ho-Chunk's annual powwow in Winnebago is held to honor their last war chief, Little Priest. After the Ho-Chunk moved to Nebraska, a group of them, including Little Priest, enlisted in the Army and served in a local unit. In 1866, Little Priest died from wounds he received while in the Army. Today, the powwow remembers his sacrifice and honors all Winnebago war veterans.

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