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  • several Git Hoan dancers with musicians on a performance stage
    The Git Hoan Dancers, a Tsimshian performance group led by David Boxley at the opening of the New Burke, 2019

AIS Celebrates 50 Years at the University of Washington

The development of an American Indian Studies Center at the University of Washington began in the spring of 1970 following student protests calling for more diversity of UW’s curriculum, faculty, staff and students. A group of Native American students came together in a class to discuss the aims of such a program and the educational processes required to establish it. The American Indian Studies Center began in Autumn Quarter, 1970, with both Indian and non-Indian faculty involvement from departments that included Anthropology, Art, English, History, Sociology, and Political Science, as well as the Burke Museum.

That small center has now grown to an established Department, one of only a handful in the entire United States, with a major, two minors, a Graduate Certificate, and an affiliated research center. The Department of American Indian Studies has become the home for indigenous knowledge at the University of Washington and we work to contribute to the growing field of Indigenous Studies with our world-class faculty, students, and staff. Read the full story of our history and growth.

Celebrate With UsShort Talks banner

In honor of our 50 year anniversary, we are planning events highlighting our graduates, founding faculty, and exciting current student and faculty work. Make sure to check our Events Calendar or Facebook page often to stay up to date on the celebrations. 

January 28th, 2021 at 6:30pm - Short Talks: Home.

Finding place in your ancestral lands, your family, wherever you are. In celebration of the five-year anniversary of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House, four Native American Huskies share their personal stories of what “home” means to them. Originally scheduled to take place in 2020, Short Talks welcomes our speakers to the digital stage this winter. Come hear our own Professor Dian Million, AIS Department Chair. A live Q&A will take place after the presentations. 

Register Here

Sacred Breath: Indigenous Writing and Storytelling

You can still view a recording of our first celebration event that took place November 23rd, 2020 with our latest installment of Sacred Breath: Indigenous Writing and Storytelling. Our theme for this special event was family connections and featured 2 indigenous children's book authors and an amazing local storyteller. Enjoy the full recording here and mark your calendar for our next event in November 2021.

Learn More about AIS at UW

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