University of Wisconsin’s Student Services Finance Committee Monday heard a presentation from Native American student organization Wunk Sheek that encouraged broader engagement and cultural awareness with new events this year.
Wunk Sheek is one of two campus organizations focused on indigenous students and the only one that is open to all students. Its main mission is to educate the community on Native American issues.
The student organization is seeking eligibility to use student segregated fees.
Wunk Sheek Co-President Faith Bowman said the organization hosts several events targeted at students.
The On Wisconsin Spring Powwow and Native November are Wunk Sheek’s two largest events. The powwow is UW-Madison’s largest student-run program and continues to grow.
“It really is an opportunity to bring together the UW campus community and indigenous communities, therefore kind of bridging the gap,” Bowman said.
The event includes dancing, drum circles and a kid’s corner where children can simultaneously build a garden with recyclable materials and learn about Native American traditions.
Native November is a month-long series of events promoting cultural knowledge exchanges and civic engagement through activities like beading.
“It serves to help us increase visibility of indigenous communities on campus, as well as the ones UW literally sits on,” Bowman said. “UW sits on Ho Chunk land. If we are able to reach out to the Ho Chunk and get those influences and bring them directly to the community in the form of these workshops, they can experience them.”
Wunk Sheek also holds educational workshops and hosts talking circles to explore contemporary issues. Last year, members held a talk concerning sexual assault against Native American women. Dejope residents interrupted the event who were later identified and issued an anonymous apology letter.
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Wunk Sheek’s co-presidents explained their hope to expand workshops into an indigenous workshop series as another opportunity for students to create understanding, leadership skills and a sense of community.
SSFC also approved the Student Leadership Program’s eligibility with little contention, passing 6-0 with four abstentions. SLP is one of the most active leadership organization on campus, facilitating leadership skill building in personal relationships, campus organizations and as citizens, according to its website.