Ho-Chunk Shares Its Way of Life

Ho-Chunk Way of Life is an introduction to the history, customs, and beliefs of the Ho-Chunk Tribe and its people.

By Margery Weinstein

Ho-Chunk Gaming - Wisconsin Dells takes diversity training seriously. For that reason, the company developed Ho-Chunk Way of Life, a class the company describes as “unique.” Ho-Chunk Way of Life is an introduction to the history, customs, and beliefs of the Ho-Chunk Tribe and its people. The course is intended to provide a better understanding of co-workers who practice a traditionally Native-American lifestyle and to sensitize non-Native American employees to the importance of their job, which is to support a tribe that once faced extinction. Here are some key points of the program:

  • Being a tribally run enterprise, cultural sensitivity is of the utmost importance. Since this class was adopted as standard instruction for all new employees more than five years ago, the instances of cultural conflicts has lowered to nearly zero.
  • Originally intended for non-Native Americans, this program also has proven popular with enrolled Ho-Chunk employees who want to learn more about their culture, and how non-Native employees perceive them.
  • Activities during this half-day class include investigation of: various rituals and ceremonies, traditional singing and dancing, and an overview of tribal history including rare photographs and artifacts. The result is a workforce that has a better understanding of its employer and fellow employees.
  • Before the adoption of this program, there were approximately five incidences of racial insensitivity per year. Today, that number has shrunk to zero per year.

Ho-Chunk Gaming - Wisconsin Dells is so proud of this course and it has been so successful, that other divisions of the Ho-Chunk Government have adopted this course for training their Native and non-Native American employees alike.

HAVE INPUT OR TIPS on this topic? If so, send them our way in an e-mail to lorri@trainingmag.com with the subject line “Ho-Chunk,” and we’ll try to include your advice in an upcoming edition of the Training Top 125 Best Practices/Executive Exchange e-newsletter.

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