Kelly Holmes Oral History


This is an interview with Kelly Holmes, a UW graduate and member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. In part one, Holmes discusses her experience transitioning to UW–Madison from her Reservation. The second part details her experiences with the Indigenous student activist group, Wunk Sheek, and how they handled an incident at Djope residence hall. In part three, Holmes expresses her beliefs about how the university responded to the needs of Indigenous students and where they need improvement.

Audio File:

Click Here to listen to segment one (2 mins).

Click Here to listen to segment two (5 mins).

Click Here to listen to segment three (3 mins).

Click Here to listen to all three segments (10 mins).

Click Here to view the interview transcript.

Discussion Questions:

What does this oral history reveal about being a member of both the UW and larger Madison community?

How does this oral history connect with broader histories of discrimination and resistance in both higher education and the United States?

What are the advantages and limitations of using oral histories? What challenges arise when selecting participants, generating questions, and sharing only certain segments of people’s stories?

How do Indigenous students experience discrimination on campus, and how did Wunk Sheek attempt to educate UW students about Indigenous people and their culture?

Why do you think Holmes advocated for “mandatory cultural competency, cultural history, tribal sovereignty type of course. I think should be mandatory for everyone: faculty, staff, students” What other options, challenges, and benefits do you perceive from this course of action?