Saturday, August 22, 2015


For many years, a visit to the Indian Ceremonial at Stand Rock on the Wisconsin River was a part of every family's visit to the Dells.

The local Native Americans are mostly Ho-Chunk (elsewhere called Winnebago) but dancers and other performers from many nations came to be part of the ceremonial. 

For centuries the iconic Stand Rock sandstone rock formation marked a natural amphitheater that hosted inter-tribal gatherings on the shores of the Wisconsin River long before tourism ignited in the area. After H.H. Bennett’s photography made the formations at the Dells famous and brought tourism to the area in the late nineteenth century, the Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial, with Ho-Chunk and other Native American dancers, became an attraction for visitors. It continued for almost 80 years.

In recent years, many local Native Americans have thought that the important role they played in the history of the Dells was being lost. As a result, there have been efforts to bring at least part of the experience back, with a few shows in one of the downtown parks. This year a number of groups have banded together for a presentation at the Crystal Grand Theater in Lake Delton. The 90-minute Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial Reawakening performance will blend the art of pioneer photographer H.H. Bennett with the sights and sounds of a multi-media stage production directed by Lance Tallmadge of Wisconsin Dells.

Tom, of course, had seen the original many times over the years, but I never have. So we plan to go this afternoon. There is also a Native Art Marketplace outside the theater featuring traditional bead and porcupine quill work, basketry and woodcarving along with contemporary drawing, painting, ceramics and jewelry. We often attend powwows nearby and I imagine some of what we see will be familiar. But Lance Tallmadge is a well-known teacher and lecturer, and I expect to learn more about the peoples who were here before Tom's ancestors arrived in the 1840s.


littleeaglearts said...

I'm so glad that you were able to join us for the "Reawakening." We hope that you had a good experience as the goal of Little Eagle Arts Foundation is to preserve culture through the arts.
Thanks again for your participation!!

Kirstin Dodd said...

Hope yall had fun! Sounds super duper neat!