Last year, a group of Molson Coors employees united to form the Native American Council (NAC) employee resource group, with chapters in Milwaukee and Golden. NAC’s mission is to educate, support and celebrate Native American culture, tradition and history throughout Molson Coors and the community. Members meet once a month to discuss bringing awareness to Native American topics and culture in our community to our employees.
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we had the chance to sit down and chat with Kelsey Harker, release train engineer in Milwaukee and a member of the Oneida and Bad River Ojibwe tribes, to learn a bit more about her story.
Question: Can you tall us a little more about yourself and your background?
A: My journey has been unique, and as a newer Molson Coors employee, it is an honor to be highlighted during Native American Heritage Month. From kindergarten through 8th grade, I attended an all-Native American school, Indian Community School, located near the corporate office in Milwaukee. Students need to be an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe or have an identified lineage of descendants from a tribe to attend this school.
Question: When did you first experience Native American culture? How did that experience influence who you are today?
A: The Native American culture was woven into all aspects of my education, from language to electives and after-school activities, all designed to build knowledge while carrying on traditions. In eighth grade, I had my first significant public speaking opportunity as an elected student representative for the grand opening ceremony for the new building now located in Franklin, Wis. It was then that I started to discover the impact I could make by connecting with my audience and sharing my experiences. That experience motivated me to stay involved in various ways to level up as a public speaker and celebrate and honor my culture.
Question: What motivated you to become a member of NAC?
A: My ancestry's rich history and background inspired me to join the Molson Coors Native American Council. I strive to bring awareness that the Native American culture is very much alive and develop solutions to create a more inclusive environment for employees.
What I find to be so powerful is that Milwaukee has a strong indigenous heritage. Milwaukee comes from an Anishinaabemowin name meaning “good earth” from the three Anishinaabe tribes (Ojibwe, Ottawa, Potawatomi) that created the Three Fires Confederacy.
Celebrating the Native American community and Heritage Month honors our land here in Milwaukee and promotes inclusion in history and culture. Molson Coors has an opportunity through the Native American Council to recognize the ancestral land and the Native American history.
I look forward to leaning into my background as a Native American Council member and making a greater impact in our communities and across Molson Coors.