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Northern Arizona University is unique in its mission to become the leading university serving Native Americans. The Office of Native American Initiatives (ONAI) was established to make this mission a reality. ONAI seeks to make a substantial and enduring contribution to a new era in American Indian self-determination by:
- partnering with Native American/Indigenous communities
- collaborating with tribal colleges and universities
- contributing to a culture of support for Native American/Indigenous students
- building bridges to and from Indigenous-serving institutions across the globe
Supporting and Encouraging Indigenous Students
The Office of Native American Initiatives in conjunction with NAU Marketing, worked together to create logos and graphics that represent ONAIs Core Values of Relationships, Responsibility, Respect, and Resilience. These logos and graphics are a collective representation of values that are upheld within many different Indigenous communities.
- The Relationships graphic was inspired by the staple imagery of the four cardinal directions that are considered sacred in Native American cultures. The feathers represent the trust, honor, wisdom, and strength that is necessary in establishing and cultivating relationships.
- The Responsibility value is a sun that illustrates responsibility by showing the effect that it has by reaching out with its rays. It also signifies the beginning of a new day as it rises from the east. Both of these express dependability and accountability which are essential parts of responsibility.
- The Respect value is represented by a water graphic that uses a droplet shape often utilized in Native American jewelry and other inspired circular designs. Water is used here to visually express the importance of respect and the value of community approval and honor.
- The Resilience value is represented as a corn stalk that is found in many Native American images. Corn is a resilient crop which ties directly to the concept of resilience. It also symbolizes the growth students experience through support in their education.
The Office of Native American Initiatives has 5 different programs and many partners that strive to support NAUs goal to become the leading university serving Native Americans. Following is a quick introduction to the 5 program areas and a few of our partners.
Native American Cultural Center
The Native American Cultural Center (NACC) is the central hub for Native American & Indigenous activities at NAU, providing resources for Indigenous students, Arizona tribes, local organizations, and students, staff, and faculty throughout the NAU campus. The NACC also has rooms available for booking, check the NACC webpage for more information.
Institute for Native-serving Educators (INE)
The goal of INE is to be the premier preK-12 professional development institute of choice for Native Nations in the United States. The Institute for Native-serving Educators houses all professional development partnerships and programs for teachers and administrators in early childhood programs through high school.
Tribal Leadership Initiative
The Tribal Leadership Initiative provides training and support for current and future tribal leaders in Indian Country through graduate curricula, executive education, youth leadership programs, fellowships, and more…
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals
The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) focuses on protecting and sustaining Native American land, strengthening tribal capacity and sovereignty in environmental and resource management through culturally relevant education, research, partnerships, and policy-based services.
The Development program of ONAI focuses on locating resources for NAUs Native American and Indigenous community. Current work is focused on an expansion of the Native American Cultural Center to include additional office spaces, classrooms, and activity areas for the community.
NAU Tribal Consultation
Northern Arizona University respects and acknowledges the culture, traditions, beliefs, governance processes, tribal laws, codes, regulations, and protocols of the sovereign tribes and is committed to fulfilling this important obligation. This commitment is upheld in Arizona Board of Regents (“ABOR”) Policy 1-118, which requires good faith consultation with federally recognized Native American tribes regarding proposed research, initiatives, agreements, programs, policies, or other activities that may have foreseeable implications for tribes or their individual members. The ONAI VP is NAUs Tribal Liaison, and is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Tribal Consultation policy.
Office of Indigenous Student Success
Office of Indigenous Student Success (OISS) provides culturally competent, individualized support, for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students at Northern Arizona University.