The word Hay-Lush-Ka is of Winnebago origin, and was used to identify only those braves and princesses of great courage, accomplishment, and value to the welfare of their tribe and Nation. Hay-Lush-Ka braves and princesses were held in high honor by their fellow braves and princesses, and all strove to be called Hay-Lush-Ka.
The Thunderbird is used to symbolize the Hay-Lush-Ka honor, as it is one of the most significant symbols of Indian lore. Typically it is a sign of great power, good fortune, and often considered a good luck omen. Many tribes believed that the Thunderbird began their very existence.
To earn the right to be called Hay-Lush-Ka a brave or princess of the Algonquin Federation must complete eleven tasks with their parent. The Croix Nation designates their member's progress with through the earning of beads for each of these tasks. The first eight are earned and awarded within their tribe. The last three are also earned within the tribe and then must be demonstrated before a Hay-Lush-Ka Council at a Nation Camp-out to earn the Hay-Lush-Ka honor.
Only after earning all eleven awards and demonstrating the last three before the Hay-Lush-Ka Council may a Parent-Child pair be called Hay-Lush-Ka. Only father-daughter teams that have earned Hay-Lush-Ka may attend the annual Hay-Lush-Ka dance held each Spring.
The Thunderbird on the Algonquin Longhouse Hay-Lush-KA Patch has 8 wing feathers and 3 tail feathers, signifying each of our accomplishments. It is mounted on an arrowhead background.