At the confluence of Turtle Creek and the Rock River there was a very large Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) settlement called Ke-Chunk (Kečąk) or Turtle Village until 1832. Nature At The Confluence is situated on the property where the village was once located and is presenting a learning series called "We Once Lived Here: The Ho-Chunk at Ke-Chunk Village." This series features twelve programs for both adults and children that highlight the culture and heritage of historic and contemporary Native American Indians. All programs will be held at Nature At The Confluence Learning Center, 306 Dickop Street, South Beloit, IL.
Sunday, March 10, 1:00pm Dr. Bill Green will present findings from his archaeological research in the summer of 2012 which resulted in his report “The Search for Ke-Chunk”. Dr. Green recently retired from Beloit College where he was Adjunct Professor of Anthropology. This program will be held indoors, but will also include an optional guided tour of the grounds. This is a free program, but donations will be accepted.
Friday-Sunday, April 5, 5:00-9:00 p.m.; April 6, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; April 7, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Three-day Ho-Chunk Flute Making Workshop with Bill Quackenbush, Ho-Chunk Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. Participants will learn about the history of the Native American courting flute, and then guided on how to make and play their own flute. Held Limited to 14 participants, cost is $150 and includes all materials to make a flute.
Saturday, April 27, 10:00-11:00 a.m. Nature Kids: Ho-Chunk Storytelling | Celebration of National Storytelling Day -Oral storytelling is one way that Ho-Chunk culture, traditions, and language are passed down from generation to generation. The featured story is the “The Ho-Chunk Courting Flute." Storytelling and an art project are part of this program for ages 7-11. Free program Saturday, May 4, 1:00 p.m. Walk With Me Among My Homelands: Hear the Echos of My Ancestors - Janice Rice, a member of Ho-Chunk Nation, invites you to listen and envision a walk amidst the beauty of her ancestral homelands. Rice is a retired librarian with a focus on American Indian resources, literature, culture, history, language preservation and revitalization. $5 suggested donation.
Saturday, June 8; Sunday, August 11; Saturday, September 7at 1:00 p.m. Who Once Lived Here? | Ke-Chunk Village At The Confluence – At the confluence of Turtle Creek and the Rock River there once was a very large Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) settlement called Ke-Chunk. Come learn what we know about Turtle Village and why people called this area home. We’ll start indoors with a visual presentation, and then walk the confluence property to learn more (less than quarter mile). Presented by Therese Oldenburg, Executive Director, Nature At The Confluence. $5 suggested donation. Program for all ages. Sunday, July 14, 1:00 p.m. A Celebration of American Indian Culture through Music and Dance - Dressed in Jingle Dress regalia, Kim Sigafus, an Ojibwa author and speaker, will share her American Indian heritage and culture through music and dance. Free program for all ages.
Saturday, August 17, 10:00 a.m. Nature Kids: What Did the Ho-Chunk Grow? – Kids will learn about the crops grew by the Ho-Chunk Native Americans at Ke-Chunk Village, and find out where they had their garden beds along Turtle Creek. Free program for ages 7-11.
Saturday, September 7, 10:00 a.m. Nature Kids: Who Lived In These Woods? – Kids will learn who has made the confluence area at Turtle Creek and the Rock River home over the last 200 years, both humans and animals. Free program for ages 7-11.
Sunday, October 13, 1:00pm A Peek Into The American Indian Way of Life: In Celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day - Kim Sigafus, an Ojibwa author and speaker, will invite people into the world of the American Indian to discover what it once was to be Native, and what it means to be Native now. Kim will be dressed in her traditional Native regalia, and will present on Native culture through oral traditions, language, and history. She will discuss Native encampment life and will drum and sing an Ojibwa lullaby. Free program for all ages.
Saturday, November 2, 1:00pm Nature Kids: Migration Through the Seasons: In Celebration of National American Indian Heritage Month – Learn about where wildlife goes when it becomes cold, as well as where the Ho-Chunk people who once lived at Ke-Chunk (Kečąk) Village migrated to in the fall and winter. Free program for ages 7-11. ______________________________
In addition to these programs, visitors can walk the Nature At The Confluence campus to learn more about the Ho-Chunk culture in the following special exhibits.
- Ke-Chunk Village Interpretive Sign - Ho-Chunk Sculpture Project Display - Native American Heritage Garden in the Learning Gardens