Our new Health & Wellness Center Heals the Spirit Through Wellness. Click here to see what’s underway.
An incredible journey is underway as Northwest tribes, leaders from throughout Indian Country, friends and supporters. At Northwest Indian College, we are bringing our children and grandchildren into an education we can only imagine today as adults. It is an education about who we are as Native people.
It is an education that now serves over 130 tribes from throughout the United States. It is based at our main campus at the Lummi Nation, connected to full-service sites at six reservations in Washington and Idaho, and linked to through online courses and lifelong learning cooperative extension opportunities.
As you learn more here, we hope you will choose to partner with us on our educational journey. Thank you.
The land at the Lummi Nation near Bellingham, Washington, on which our main campus resides, comes to us from the Chief Henry Kwina families and the Chief August Martin families. These families made tremendous sacrifices when their family members came together from all over the United States to sell their lands to us. The Kwina and Martin families held out their hands and gave us their heritage so that we as Native people and our children may have an education.
Contributions of this type are held dear at Northwest Indian College. Spirituality is also honored here—however we might see the Creator. So is the value of relationships and diversity. Everywhere we look we see our friends, our relatives and people of our blood among us. We also value stewardship of our specific Native cultures and homelands. We recognize our personal and shared responsibility to protect and expand our resources.
At Northwest Indian College we are excited about our new campus, our six, full-service sites, our broad outreach to our tribal communities, and our new buildings — especially the next one set for construction — the Health and Wellness Center.
Why all this excitement? It is because it is what happens inside of the buildings where our mission comes alive. It is inside of these buildings that indigenous knowledge and self-determination is promoted. Inside of these buildings is where the makings of tribal nation builds and leaders occur. It is where the imprinting of tribal college experiences happens and where the healing of our spirits through health and wellness takes place.
The accredited programs of study underway in our new buildings grow out of Native cultures and traditions. They prepare our students to complete their four-year and two-year degrees here at NWIC, or if they so choose, to use their culturally-based education as a bridge to additional successful Western college experiences.
Through education, Northwest Indian College promotes indigenous self-determination and knowledge. As the only regional tribal college in the U.S. and the only accredited tribal college in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, the College serves as a gateway to higher educations for the region’s 270,000 American Indians/Alaskan Natives. Our diverse student body is represented by over 130 tribes from throughout North America.
Our main campus is at Lummi Nation near Bellingham, Washington. Full-service extended campuses are located at five reservations in Washington (Port Gamble S’Klallam, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Swinomish, and Tulalip) and one in Idaho (Nez Perce). We also offer independent study and online courses to tribal students throughout the region. Our Cooperative Extension Program also reaches an annual audience of over 4,500 lifelong learners in the Northwest.
Our Native community (throughout the Northwest and U.S.) was once one of cultural, social and economic abundance. Today, however, our original inhabitants remain among the poorest citizens and experience the lowest level of education.
(While 50% of the Native population is under the age of 18, the high school drop-out rate is a high as 50%. Only 6% of the Native American population has completed four or more years of college – one quarter the rate of all Americans.)
The higher education model at Northwest Indian College was developed by the Lummi Nation and continuously evolves to honor individual Native cultures, languages and traditions. By recognizing the special circumstances of Native students within the framework of an accredited, two-year and four-year college curriculum, Northwest Indian College:
• Promotes wellness and healthy living – Education builds sustainable tribal communities and people through promotion of healthy living, development of future leaders of Indian Country, and community development activities. It makes us good parents, relatives and citizens.
• Creates prosperity and takes us out of poverty – Education strengthens individual prosperity and tribal sovereignty through research, partnerships and workforce development. It also addresses the economic conditions of our tribal communities.
• Helps us know who we are as people – Education embraces the living values of our individual tribes and celebrates the diversity of our tribal communities while, at the same time, bringing traditional ways into contact and interaction with contemporary society.
A long time ago, education wasn’t in a school. We got our education from being together, by teaching each other and by learning together. Today, our world has schools and buildings in which we gather people together. That is a challenge for us as Native people. We must bring our spirituality, our relationships and our education together. What will we create together? We will create a sanctuary – a safe place for all of us to learn.
The College’s Board of Trustees has financial, policy and fundraising oversight of the campaign. The Foundation is partnering the effort by lending campaign expertise while focusing on endowment and increasing student scholarships. Representatives from both the College and Foundation Boards have served with other College, Tribal and regional leaders on a Campaign Advisory Team to shape fundraising plans.
The College President oversees a 10-member fundraising and project team of College staff and consultants.
We estimate that every student and graduate success impacts 35 other people. Our students serve as role models for their children, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, neighbors and friends. As a result, every college student changes the literacy and education level not only of the individual themselves, but of entire communities throughout the Northwest and our country.
From 2011 through 2014, Northwest Indian College conferred 243 degrees. Approximately 90 graduates joined the ranks in 2014. As important, we also see our students completing their two-year and four-year studies here and using their culturally-based education as a bridge to additional successful Western college experiences.