Sauk County Historical Society Executive Director Paul Wolter will present the second session in a two-part series on the history of the Ho-Chunk Nation at 7 p.m. May 23 in the library’s community room, 370 Vine St., Reedsburg. The series is a collaborative project of the Reedsburg Historical Society, the Sauk County Historical Society and the Reedsburg Public Library.
In the first session, the history of the Ho-Chunk Nation in Wisconsin prior to and immediately following European contact, was explained by speakers Patty Loew and Janice Rice. In the second session, Wolter will give details about the effect that federal treaties had on the local Ho-Chunk population in Sauk County, as well as the reaction of tribal leaders and local community members.
The Ho-Chunk had been adversely affected from the time of the first European contact, but were severely encroached upon with the 1820’s lead rush. A treaty forced upon the tribe in 1832, demanded the surrender of all lands between the Rock and Wisconsin Rivers in exchange for territory west of the Mississippi. In 1837, Chief Yellow Thunder, along with Chief War Eagle and Elder Dandy were summoned to Washington, where they were effectively held hostage until they ceded all remaining Wisconsin Lands.
Yellow Thunder, however, after being captured and removed to Iowa, made his way back and took out a claim at the Mineral Point land office for forty acres south of the Village of Delton. Chief Ah-Ha-Cho-Ka, or Blue Wing, an early friend to Reedsburg’s European settlers, would also purchase forty acres to avoid deportation. Many other Ho-Chunk families would return to their homeland over ensuing years, in spite of not having the advantage of land ownership and constantly facing the threat of removal.
A final removal effort in 1873, would result in the civil disobedience of several white settlers at the Reedsburg railroad depot. Soldiers had rounded up local Native American families including that of Chief Ah-Ha-Cho-Ka and confined them. In one of Reedsburg’s finest hours, local citizenry, led by Deputy Sheriff H. D. Buel and Horace Smith prevented the deportation of several of the area’s native population.
These Ho Chunk who fought the unfair treaties and resisted deportation would become the ancestors of today’s Ho-Chunk people, headquartered in Black River Falls, Wisconsin. Learn more about the recent history of the Sauk County Ho-Chunk on May 23 in the Library’s Community Room.
For more information, call the library at 608-768-7323.