A note from our co-owners, Denise & TJ Semanchin and Caleb Nicholes
For 15 years, our company was named Kickapoo Coffee. Originally intended to honor the Kickapoo River Valley our roastery calls home, we now recognize the ongoing use of the name as an appropriation of the Kickapoo Nation.
The Kickapoo Nation is composed of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, and the Mexican-Kickapoos.
By using “Kickapoo,” our company claimed a name that was never ours to take. In an effort to right that wrong, we announced our decision to change the name of the company in April of 2019. Our new name of Wonderstate Coffee was made public in June of 2020 and the full transition to Wonderstate was made on July 27, 2020.
The decision to change the name came out of an extensive internal review, initiated by a then staff member. After coming to the decision to step away from the name, we were able to apologize directly to representatives of the Kickapoo Nation, who had previously been unaware of its use.
Through the process of changing the company’s name we were honored to build a relationship with the Kickapoo Nation, meeting with Chairman David Pacheco of the the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma and hosting Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Chairman, Lester Randall, for a community event at the Historic Temple Theatre in downtown Viroqua, WI.
Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Tribal Chairman, Lester Randall, addresses the audience at the Temple Theatre, December 2019.
We are deeply grateful for the resources and learnings offered by our partners in the name change process, including all the Indigenous and allied activists that are raising awareness on issues of cultural appropriation.
In our 15 years as Kickapoo Coffee, many people might have first encountered the word Kickapoo as a coffee brand, effectively erasing the Kickapoo people from our collective narrative. And this erasure perpetuates all the other acts of genocide against Indigenous people over the past five centuries.
Wonderstate Coffee continues to make donations to support Indigenous communities and to the Kickapoo Nation directly, but we recognize that no monetary contributions could ever compensate the Nation for our company’s appropriation of their name.
We are grateful for the opportunity to grow and challenge the blindspots our privilege has afforded. Not just in the act of changing our name and resolving our most blatant transgression against the Indigenous community, but in the months and decades to come, we are dedicated to showing up for the BIPOC, and all marginalized communities, in substantive action and systemic change.
We thank you for holding us accountable to this work.
If you have any questions, comments, thoughts or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kickapoo Coffee is Now Wonderstate - July 27, 2020
We Owe You More: Our New Path Forward - June 10, 2020
One Year Later: An Update on Our Name Change - April 17, 2020
Name Change Announcement - April 17, 2019
Anuncio de Cambio de Nombre - April 17, 2019
Name Change Announcement, in Spanish
Press Release - April 17, 2019
Letter from TJ & Caleb Regarding Our Name - December 11, 2018