Madison Public Library's First Native American Storyteller-in-Residence
The Ho-Chunk peoples' historical territory include Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. They originated outside of Green Bay in a place called Red Banks (Mogasuc). But, who are they? What does it mean to be Ho-Chunk? How do they survive in two worlds?
In fall of 2021, Madison Public Library welcomed Ho-Chunk Nation storyteller and tribal member AJ (Andi) Cloud for a variety of interactive storytelling and creative learning opportunities. The programs kicked off on Indigenous Peoples' Day, October 11, 2021. They included art workshops, activity kits, outdoor story walks, digital stories, exhibits, and more all across the city focusing on topics like Ho-Chunk history and culture, the fall harvest, veterans and Veteran's Day, beadwork, black ash basket making, and growing up Ho-Chunk in the 20th Century.
Based on Vancouver Public Library’s Indigenous Storyteller in Residence program, this residency intended to promote intercultural understanding and story sharing. In light of both the COVID-19 pandemic and movements for racial justice, it was also an opportunity to make space for healing and connection.
Meet Andi Cloud
"Ho-Chunk culture and life is complex and beautiful. It is my hope that the Madison community will engage in learning about the Ho-Chunk through this residency."
Andi Cloud is an enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Her Ho-Chunk, waksik, name is Nizuwi, Rain Woman. She was named by her grandfather, coka, the late Eugene Thundercloud and is a member of the Thunder Clan. Andi grew up in Black River Falls, Wisconsin. After graduating high school she attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UW-L) and earned her Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies and Political Science in 2006. Later, she returned to UW-L and earned her Master of Education-Professional Development degree in 2012.
Andi has worked in the education field, teaching a variety of ages that range from toddlers to adults. Among her roles as an educator her favorite was teaching English in Valle de Elqui, Chile. Aside from education, Andi has worked for her tribal government and has been a part of different Ho-Chunk boards and task groups in past years. The last two years she has spent learning the crafts of sewing and beadwork. She sells both online, at craft fairs, and through personal orders.
Andi enjoys traveling, pow-wows, fly-fishing, campfires, and a good story. She loves being Nani to her children; Maggie, Remington, Makena, Landon, Jordan, Curtis, and Kennedi. She loves her Milwaukee Brewers and keeps a scorebook whenever she has the chance. Among the list of her Madison favorites are (in no particular order): Bucky Badger, Takumi's restaurant for their Candy Roll, Tip Top for their fried pickles, and the Terrace for their music and good vibes. Andi resides in De Pere, Wisconsin.