Wunk Sheek has become the "main resource" for Native students to build a community on campus, according to Mariah Skenandore.Image By: Samantha Nesovanovic
Wunk Sheek members help natives find community, take on previous university role
With so few Native American students on campus, forming connections with other Native students is key for living on a majority white campus. But imagine if being a part of that community is contingent on whether or not student leaders are able to find you.
Wunk Sheek, a Native American community on campus, has had to do just that. In fall 2017, the university eliminated Nichole Boyd’s position as a liaison to the native community. But according to Mary Carr Lee, spokesperson for the Division of Diversity, Equity
“The support mechanism for students of color
Still, student leaders said they have had to go out of their way to recruit other Native American students and let them know about Wunk Sheek. As of fall 2017, Carr Lee said there were 100 UW-Madison students who only identified as American Indian. About 450 students identified as overall American Indian.
Although the organization has grown in size, Collin Ludwig, Wunk Sheek’s co-president of Fiscal Relations and a part of the Red Cliff Ojibwe Nation, said that between recruitment and seeking
“It was kind of hard to do it all ourselves this year,” Ludwig said. “This is sort of a transition year.”
Mariah Skenandore, Wunk Sheek’s co-president of External Affairs and a part of the Oneida Nation, interned for Boyd. In that role, Skenandore was heavily involved with powwow planning, something that is useful now that there is no longer a liaison and she is a part of Wunk Sheek leadership.
“Now that [Boyd is] not around, Wunk Sheek kind of carries that weight on our shoulders because everything that people would otherwise go to her for — if they ever needed to talk to a Native person at the university — they are now reaching out to Wunk Sheek because we’re the main Native representation and the main resource for Native folks outside of the UW community,” Skenandore said.