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Kay Cole Papers

Identifier: MSS-556-BC

Scope and Content

The majority of this collection represents Kay Cole's involvement with Dennis Banks and American Indian issues, dating from the 1970's. The collection is divided into 9 overlapping series.

D-Q University contains materials related to D-Q (Deganawidah Quetzacoatl) University, an accredited, Indian controlled Indian/Chicano college which was established in Davis, California in 1971 and continues to operate today. Dennis Banks was a student, an instructor, and the first American Indian chancellor of D-Q University. The materials in this series include general information about the institution as well as news clippings, newsletters, correspondence and other materials regarding legal issues and events involving D-Q University. Background and research materials relating to national and international issues of concern to indigenous peoples are also included in this portion of the collection.

American Indian International Tribunal brings together materials from the First American Indian International Tribunal which was organized and hosted by Dennis Banks and D-Q University in September 1982. The purpose of the Tribunal was to hear testimony on the social and economic effects of U.S. foreign and domestic polices, and to discuss strategies for change. Human rights abuses were also discussed at the Tribunal. More than 900 people, representing 85 tribal nations and community groups from around the world attended the Tribunal. Correspondence, proposals, publicity, planning materials, and summary reports comprise one part of this series. The bulk of the series consists of the testimony, statements, and related notes from the proceedings.

Materials Related to Legal Case, Prison Time, Projects of Dennis Banks focuses on legal issues and projects of Dennis Banks. Banks was one of the founders of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in 1968. He was involved in and acquitted of charges stemming from the occupation of Wounded Knee, but convicted of riot and assault charges from a 1973 protest against a court case in which a white man was found innocent of murdering an Indian in Custer, South Dakota. Following his conviction, Banks went underground until he received sanctuary from Governor Jerry Brown. When George Deukmejian took office and Banks faced extradition from California, he sought and received sanctuary with the Onondaga Nation in New York. In 1985, Banks surrendered to law enforcement officials in South Dakota, and spent 18 months in prison as a result. Correspondence, news clippings, articles, press statements, and legal materials document these and other events involving Banks' judicial battles. Materials relating to Dennis Banks' activities in the late 1980's and early 1990's are also included in this series.

Research Materials, Projects, etc. overlaps with the scope of Series 3, but is more general in nature. Much of the material included in this series relates to projects that Dennis Banks was involved with, but which extend beyond his "personal" plight. Correspondence, news clippings, newsletters, reports, and other printed materials document the American Indian struggle for land rights, religious and spiritual freedom, and against discrimination. Sub-themes include the arms race, military and nuclear issues, criminal justice, prison reform, Indian graves desecration, women, and the Navajo-Hopi land dispute. Materials relating to the Long Walk for Survival, the Jim Thorpe Run and several Sacred Runs, initiated and organized by Dennis Banks, are also included in this series.

Dennis Banks Defense Committee, and Related Activities contains the Dennis Banks Defense Committee's records. This Committee was formed by Kay Cole late in 1982, in response to Governor Deukmejian's promise to extradite Dennis Banks from California. The Dennis Banks Defense Committee worked to gather support for and educate people about Dennis Banks, through such mechanisms as petition drives, benefits, disseminating information, and communicating with and monitoring governmental and media activities. Correspondence from and to the Dennis Banks Defense Committee, and their meeting minutes and agendas constitute the bulk of this series.

Publications and Narratives Relating to Dennis Banks includes publications, narratives, and media projects by or about Dennis Banks. Issues of Freedom Notes, the publication of the Dennis Banks Defense Committee are included in this series.

Fiscal Sponsorship and Financial Records focuses on financial records and activity reports of the Dennis Banks Defense Committee, Loneman Industries (which was founded to provide employment for the Oglala community on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation), NAYCEP (the Native American Youth Counselling and Education Project), and Capp Street Foundation (the fiscal sponsor of the Dennis Banks Defense Committee) comprise this series. Bank statements, receipts, invoices, checks, payroll records, correspondence, news clippings, and reports are some of the materials that will be found in this part of the collection.

Mailing Lists contains mailing lists and buttons.

There is also an Oversize Folder, containing posters and printed materials relating to AIM, the arms race, and the Sacred Run.

There are only a few photographs from this collection; they are located in the Center for Southwest Research Photoarchives.


  • 1971-1992


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

Kay Cole was born on June 11, 1911 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She earned her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, and her M.A. from Columbia University in New York, with degrees in the social sciences. Kay Cole also studied political sociology at the University of California in Berkeley. She was and is very interested in the plight of American Indians, especially regarding the colonial/imperial oppression brought upon them by the United States government.

In 1973, Ms. Cole visited Chile; the people she spoke with wanted to know about Wounded Knee. Not being very familiar with the events surrounding Wounded Knee, Cole came back to the United States determined to learn more about what happened there. Her involvement with Dennis Banks began when she saw him and Russell Means on a late night television talk show. In 1980, Cole attended a meeting in which Banks was the speaker. Following the meeting, she met him backstage and he invited her to attend one of his workshops. Prior to attending the workshop, Cole raised money for the Long Walk for Survival, a cross country walk for nuclear disarmament, which Banks was involved in organizing. At their next meeting, the ties between Banks and Cole were cemented.

In later years, Kay Cole continued to be involved with American Indian issues. She spoke publicly on behalf of Leonard Peltier, and visited him in prison regularly. She also continued to be in contact with Dennis Banks.


9 boxes (7.83 cu. ft.), plus oversize folder

Related Material

Navajo - Hopi Land Dispute. Documents. Center for Southwest Research. University of New Mexico. Robert Robideau Papers. Center for Southwest Research. University of New Mexico. United States Federal Bureau of Investigation Files on the American Indian Movement and Wounded Knee. Microfilm. Center for Southwest Research. University of New Mexico. Christopher Felver Photograph Collection Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Separated Material

The few photographs from this collection have been transferred to the Kay Cole Photograph Collection.

Processing Information

Series, "Materials with Evidence of Mold" (boxes 8 and 9) was deleted and contents of these boxes was integrated into the appropriate series, March 2010.
Finding Aid of the Kay Cole Papers, 1971-1992
Processed by B. Silbergleit
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 556 BC::Kay Cole Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss556bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131