Kickapoo Coffee rebranded to combat cultural appropriation

Everything from sports teams, to monuments, and locations are changing their names in an effort to combat cultural appropriation. One local coffee shop took on the task two years ago, and is now introducing their new name and packaging.

“Folks were encountering Kickapoo… the name Kickapoo for the first time as a coffee company, And we just grew to recognize that was actually erasing the existence of the Kickapoo people,” said TJ Semanchin, the President of Wonderstate Coffee.

Originally named after the Kickapoo River, Kickapoo Coffee has been using that name around the Western Wisconsin community for 13 years.

“But the river is named after the Kickapoo people, said Semanchin.

And that prompted Semanchin to reevaluate and change the name.

“In that process recognizing that it wasn’t just the name of the river that we were using, but the issue of cultural appropriation. And it was a bit of a wake-up call to consider the harm that we possibly were doing unintentionally,” said Semanchin.

And looking back at the ethics of their company, led them to the name they are today, Wonderstate Coffee.

“We wanted something in the name that embodied that maybe also embodied that creative tension. And Wonderstate for us really does that,” said Semanchin.

The rebranded Wonderstate coffee will be on shelves in its new packaging next month.

We reached out to the Kansas Kickapoo Tribe several times for comment, but have not heard back.