The history of the Ho-Chunk, the largest Native American Nation in Wisconsin Dells, once called Winnebago by the French fur traders, includes immense hardship and tremendous rebuilding. In 1832, the U.S. Government began its infamous removal policy, stating that all Indians must be moved west of the Mississippi River. A series of deadly conflicts deeply scarred the culture. The Ho-Chunk were forced to leave their land and head to northwestern Iowa and south-central Minnesota. They were again moved in 1863 to a desolate reservation in South Dakota. It wasn’t until 1873, when the removal policy was reversed, that the Ho-Chunk could file claims to land in the area. Today, the 7,000 members of the Ho-Chunk Sovereign Nation hold title to 2,000 acres of land, continuing anew their dedication to preserve the Ho-Chunk culture.
Today, Ho-Chunk Gaming, Wisconsin Dells is a major attraction in the area, employing 1,100 full-time year-round employees and purchasing $40 million in goods and services from Wisconsin-based companies. They’re also investing $40 million in property renovations this year. The Ho-Chunk Nation’s philanthropic efforts include donating food to food banks across Wisconsin, with 11,000 meals donated last year to those in need in the Wisconsin Dells area alone.