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Native Life & Tribal Relations

Spotlight on Native Issues

UW and area tribal communities celebrated the grand opening for wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House, March 12-13, 2015.

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First Nations at the UW

Meetings take place on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. at the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center in the Native Room.

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University Land Acknowledgment

The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish peoples of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations.*

Native Life

The purpose of this web site is to centralize the Native-focused resources available on the University of Washington’s campus in Seattle. We understand the University can be a challenging environment for those coming from American Indian/Alaska Native communities and difficult to navigate for anyone who is new to the campus.

We also recognize the need to provide guidance for students to find the academic, social, and cultural support systems available to them. This site is dedicated to serving those needs of American Indian/Alaska Native students, staff, faculty and communities.

Native Graduation (Formerly Raven’s Feast)

Native Graduation is held on the Friday before UW – Seattle graduation and hosted by Native faculty and Staff who volunteer their time and effort.  The OMA/D ECC and wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ teams work with the volunteer group to ensure full support and a seamless program.  

If you are a graduating student, please follow our social media platforms or look for our outreach via email after the application date to graduate has passed.

Tribal Relations

For more complete and detailed information about UW Tribal Relations, please visit the Office of Tribal Relation website at

The United States’ trust responsibility is a well-established legal obligation that originates from the unique, historical relationship between the United States and Indian tribes. The Constitution recognized Indian tribes as entities distinct from states and foreign nations. Dating back as early as 1831, the United States formally recognized the existence of the Federal trust relationship toward Indian tribes. (US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs)

There are 574 federally recognized tribes in the United States and 29 of those tribes are in the state of Washington, 3 in the state of Idaho, 4 in the state of Oregon, and 1 in the state of Montana with historical ties to the Washington territory.  Each of these independent nations is governed by their own laws, rules, regulations, policy, traditions, and languages.  The state is comprised of tribal lands or co-managed public lands, therefore it is important for the University of Washington to work together to develop strong efficient working relationships. Existing relationships between UW and certain tribal communities have a demonstrated benefit for both sides which includes sharing of knowledge, research opportunities, and educational opportunities for tribal members and descendants.

wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House

wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House is a longhouse-style facility on the UW Seattle campus. It provides a multi-service learning and gathering space for American Indian and Alaska Native students, faculty and staff, as well as others from various cultures and communities to come together in a welcoming environment to share knowledge.


Did you find this site helpful? We welcome feedback from the community. Please contact VP of OMA&D, Rickey Hall at, or Director of Tribal Relations, Sherri Berdine at with any compliments or suggestions.

*Our acknowledgement of the tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations comes from consultation and guidance by the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs and Federal regulations and policies. In this phrasing, we are adhering to tribal sovereignty.