IVCC Recognizes Native American Appreciation Month

Josh Woodward, IV Leader Co-Sports Editor

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Josh Woodward
IV Leader Co-Sports Editor

Chief Gerald Savage of the Ho-Chunk Nation came to IVCC on Monday, Nov. 4. 2019 to present on the history of the Ho-Chunk and Native Americans in the Illinois Valley area.
Chief Gerald Savage is a member of the Bear Clan in the Ho-Chunk Nation and is a lifelong resident of the Illinois Valley area and is a graduate of IVCC.
The Ho-Chunk Nation spans from the original St. Louis area to Green Bay, WI. During his history lesson, he explained the original St. Louis is located where Starved Rock currently is, and how the St. Louis settlement has changed throughout the years. He then went on to say that his tribe is one of 567 registered tribes in the United States.
During his presentation, the Chief used humor to discuss how his tribe was formed and how certain names were given.
One of his stories is when he informed the audience, that French Explorers met the Ho-Chunk through the Iroquois Tribe. The Iroquois Tribe told the French that Ho-Chunk meant “People of stinky water,” in their language. When in fact that is not true, Ho-Chunk means, “People of Big Voice.”
The Chief then put on the traditional headdress worn only by chiefs. He told the audience that only registered Native Americans with the proper permits could handle eagle feathers. To his people, eagle feathers are used for religious reasons and also as a teaching tool. Teaching is very important in his culture it helps pass on knowledge of past generations and keeps traditions alive.
From the time he was a young boy he was taught the ways of his people and their history. To him and the Ho-Chunk people, it’s important that they understand and practice their culture’s traditions.
“In order to remember the past and to carry on the legacies of his ancestors, it’s important to continuously practice their traditions,” the Chief stated.
The biggest message he had to say that day was, take care of the Earth.
“The Earth is our home and we only get one of it,” he said.
Chief Savage let the audience know it’s OK to take from the Earth because that’s what its here for, but at the same time it’s important to give back and take care of what we as humans take.
“Some of the best water comes from natural springs, and the reason some water around the area doesn’t taste as good is that we pollute it,” he continued.
The biggest message he wanted to relay was to not leave a footprint behind on the Earth. Meaning, as individuals it’s important to not impact our environment negatively.

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