Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

January 23, 2011

Matching Funds and New Name Announced for UW Longhouse

The University of Washington has pledged $5 million to match gifts made to support the $10.6 million UW Intellectual House budget, Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity Sheila Edwards Lange announced.

The Intellectual House, formerly known as the House of Knowledge, also received a new Coast Salish name gifted by the late Vi Hilbert, an esteemed elder of the Upper Skagit Tribe. The name, , is a Lushootseed language word that means Intellectual House.

The longhouse-style facility will be built on the UW Seattle campus in parking lot N6 near McMahon Hall. Scheduled to open in 2014, the 19,000-square foot facility will provide a multi-service learning and gathering space for Native American students, faculty, staff, and others from various cultures and communities. It will feature a large central gathering space, meeting and classroom space, student lounge, computer and resource room, kitchen, and office space. The Intellectual House is expected to help UW improve recruitment, retention, and graduation rates for Native students, while honoring the region’s tribes.

The matching funds, which must be secured by the end of 2011, have already served as a catalyst for fundraising efforts.

“The UW’s pledge of $5 million in matching funds demonstrates the University’s commitment to realizing this 35-year dream of having a longhouse-style building, a ‘home away from home’ for Native students, built on the Seattle campus,” said Charlotte Coté, UW associate professor of American Indian studies and chair of the Intellectual House Planning and Advisory Committee.

“Choosing a Coast Salish name for the Intellectual House not only recognizes and pays homage to the people whose land it will be built on, but using a name gifted to us by our respected Coast Salish elder, the late Vi Hilbert, also honors her legacy as a cultural leader and educator,” Coté added.

The planning and design of the facility has been precedent setting, with integral involvement of tribes, elders, students, and the community. The project is led by the Intellectual House Planning and Advisory Committee, which received the Multicultural Alumni Partnership’s Samuel E. Kelly Award in 2010. The committee is comprised of UW faculty, staff, students, and regional tribal representatives.

Seattle-based Jones & Jones is the project architect, known for designing the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., as well as campus longhouse facilities at the University of Oregon, Evergreen State College and North Idaho College. Johnpaul Jones, the firm’s founding partner, has a distinguished 40-year career and a design philosophy that stems from his Cherokee-Choctaw ancestry.

The state provided $300,000 in pre-design funding for the UW Intellectual House and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation will donate lumber worth an estimated $91,000.

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