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Ho-Chunk Through Story: The Origin, The Wayz, and The Life

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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

Andi Cloud is Madison Public Library's first Native American Storyteller in Residence

"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.  

Past Programs

Youth and Families

Ho-Chunk Storytime

Little ones ages 3 and up learned about the twelve clans, or family groups, of the Ho-Chunk Nation through this special original storytime with Andi Cloud!


Kunuga Storytime - Native American Storyteller-in-Residence

Andi Cloud shared an original story about a day in the life of Kunuga, a 5-year-old Ho-Chunk boy and firstborn son. When does Kunu wake up? What does Kunu eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? What does Kunu do for fun?


Ho-Chunk Games 101 - Native American Storyteller-in-Residence

Sampson Funmaker led a fun introduction to two traditional games, the Moccasin Game and Kasu, which the Ho-Chunk participated in with each other and neighboring tribes. The event ended with a hands-on experience playing the Moccasin Game.


Harvest Walk - Native American Storyteller-in-Residence

Edna Taylor Conservation Park

Families strolled through Edna Taylor Conservation Park with Storyteller-in-Residence Andi Cloud and listened in for an autumn harvest storytime for adults and families of all ages!



ONLINE - What is Ho-Chunk? An Introduction

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?  Participants learned about the Ho-Chunk Nation’s past and present with journalist and former Public Relations Officer for the Nation, Anne Thundercloud.
ONLINE - Ho-Chunk Kinship Mapped and Explained

Storyteller-in-Residence Andi Cloud demonstrated how to map kinship the Ho-Chunk way.


Miniature Moccasin Making Class

Andi Cloud led participants step-by-step through this leatherworking craft, and everyone who came left with their own miniature Ho-Chunk style moccasins!


ONLINE - Making the Ho-Chunk Constitution

Ho-Chunk trailblazer, Judge JoAnn Jones, described first-hand how her tribe took the reins of self-determination and wrote a Constitution that would be the Supreme Law of Tribal Land.


Veteran's Day Drum and Honor Song Event at Ho-Chunk Gaming

Every year Ho-Chunk Gaming celebrates Veterans Day with a drumming ceremony. Storyteller Andi Cloud livestreamed the event for all to hear Ho-Chunk flag and honor songs in honor of veterans.


ONLINE - Veterans Day: Corporal Mitchell Redcloud, Jr. Story

In honor of Veterans Day: Ho-Chunk Nation's Eric Logan recited the story of Medal of Honor recipient and Ho-Chunk member, Corporal Mitchell Redcloud, Jr., as written by US Army writer, Franklin Fisher.


ONLINE - Harvest Round Table

Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Natural Resources Executive Director, Tina Brown, led a discussion of a variety of harvest topics, including Indian corn, squash, milkweed, the health of black ash trees in Wisconsin, and more.


Black Ash Basket Making

Basket Maker Kimberly Crowley walked participants through how to make a black ash basket and shared how important this old and highly skilled craft was to Ho-Chunk women as a way to make money for the family


ONLINE - Wisconsin Book Festival presents Patty Loew for Seventh Generation Earth Ethics

Author Patty Loew appeared live on Crowdcast to discuss her book, Seventh Generation Earth Ethics, and the increasing pressures to turn Indigenous lands into "sacrifice zones"--geographic areas that are permanently affected by environmental damage. You can watch a recording at


ONLINE - Being Hinu: Growing up Ho-Chunk in the 20th Century

Storyteller-in-Residence Andi Cloud read aloud an essay that detailed her experience growing up as a Ho-Chunk woman. Her story described certain times in her life where she learned her tribe’s ways and what the Ho-Chunk life is to her.


Beadwork 101

Beadwork is one of the many crafts Storyteller-in-Residence Andi Cloud partakes in. In this workshop, she helped participants learn how to start by beading a lapel pin.

Mini Maker Kits

Ho-Chunk Through Story Activity Kits

These kits were created for giveaway at our libraries during the Native American Storyteller-in-Residence program series.

Activity Kit 1: Ho-Chunk OriginHo-Chunk Origin Activity Kit for the Native American Storyteller Residency


Start Here Information Sheet

Effigy Mound Bingo

Ho-Chunk Through Story: The Wayz Activity KitKinship Maps


Activity Kit 2: Ho-Chunk Wayz

Activity Kit 3: Ho-Chunk Life

Native American and Indigenous Book Lists

Utilize our book lists and racial equity resources to take your learning home with you.

Book Club Kits

The following Book Club Kits are from Native American authors.