In a bid to help student recruitment and retention efforts by creating an atmosphere of community for the Native Indian American students, University of Wyoming is proposing to found an education center. The center will be honoring the Indian American heritage and show respect for the Native people’s cultures, traditions, laws and diverse expressions of sovereignty.
The center opening in July will be a “living and learning community” that provides study and technology space important for all educational buildings. This will encourage all the people using the center to appreciate and work effectively with diverse communities. With the new center moving to UW’s Honors Program on the corner of 10th and Ivinson street, the university will be taking important steps towards reshaping young Native Americans opinions of higher education.
The center is part of UW President Laurie Nichols’ plan to increase the numbers of Indian American students. This includes members of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes of the Wind River Indian Reservation, to get them enrolled and graduate from UW. The Indian American Center will help UW fulfill its mission of providing opportunities for personal growth, physical health and leadership development for Native American students. This will help them connect their traditions and cultures to their education.
All the classes, lectures, research, performances, exhibitions, meetings, collaborative work, traditional meals at the facility will be celebrating the traditions of Native people. The multipurpose center will also serve a variety of educational and cultural functions, which will reflect ancient histories, values and protocols of the native people, while honoring the responsibilities and privileges of hospitality and spiritual engagement. It will also be a place which will empower tribes and encourage innovation for American Indian sustainability.
James Trosper, the project coordinator for UW’s High Plains American Indian Research Institute says, “The center is needed to help boost graduation rates among Wind River Indian Reservation students.”