Column: Ho-Chunk Nation lays Ken Funmaker to rest
"Wisconsin lost a cultural treasure this week when Kenneth Funmaker Sr., who could be described as the Brett Favre of the Ho-Chunk Nation, passed away in his wigwam near Friendship.

Funmaker, 75, the traditional chief of the Bear Clan, will be laid to rest today in the family plot near the old Stand Rock Ceremonial, where he danced as a boy to entertain Wisconsin Dells tourists.

Like Favre, Funmaker was an athlete with a long career. When he was younger, he was a boxer and a rodeo bronco rider. He continued to perform the vigorous traditional dances. He emceed the Labor Day Powwow at Black River Falls in September and sold CDs of his traditional music.

His lifetime spanned enormous changes for his people, and had, like Favre 's, its ups and downs.

Funmaker 's most important role was preserving and passing on the Ho-Chunk language and tradition as the main celebrant of his clan 's religious traditions.

So is it disrespectful to compare him to a football player? Nah, he was a huge Packer fan. He 'd have gotten a laugh out of it.

"Ken understood during his life that he was the last of his kind, ' ' said his wife, Rhonda Funmaker."

Get the Story:
Susan Lampert-Smith: Ho-Chunk say goodbye to an icon (The Wisconsin State Journal 3/6)