Memorial Pow Wow Unites Tribes, Honors Fallen Veterans

By  | 

This weekend many are taking the chance to honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.

Saturday, hundreds in Western Wisconsin honored and remembered the fallen with song and dance at a traditional memorial Pow Wow.

The sounds of drums and sights of traditional dances filled Red Cloud Memorial Park in Black River Falls Saturday.

The Ho-Chunk Nation is holding one of two of its annual Pow Wows to give high honors to the fallen heroes of its tribe and others.

"Tribes from all over are celebrating veterans, prior, past, present, future," said Apesanahkwat of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Military service is a proud tradition among the Ho-Chunk.

Nearly one-third of the tribe's adult male members have served in a war or are currently serving overseas.

"We as Ho-Chunks hold veterans in high esteem," said Clayton Winneshiek, chief of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

About 150 flags from the funerals of military members will fly to mark fallen Ho-Chunk Nation members Monday.

"They'll all go up at the same time," Winneshiek said.

Susette La Mere-Arentz will honor her father and great-grandfather, who served in World War II and World War I, respectively.

"Then they'll know they're not forgotten," LaMere-Arentz said. "Everyone who goes by will see. It represents a life."

In addition to honoring loved ones and uniting different tribes, Ho-Chunk Nation Chief Clayton Winneshiek says the Pow Wow offers an opportunity to teach the public about the tribe's traditions.

"A lot of the non-native people I know, it's what they've seen in storybooks," Winneshiek said. "It's nice to have them come out, sit here and enjoy themselves."

April Short, who is part Native American, comes to both Pow Wows each year with her three-year-old son.

"It's very important to me that he see that side of his culture," Short said. "Plus it's very beautiful, and there's amazing music."