Diversity at the UW


What is NAAB?


The University of Washington’s Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity’s Native American Advisory Board (NAAB) was organized in 1993, under Vice President for the Office of Minority Affairs (OMA) Myron Apilado. Acknowledging the unique histories and federal status that American Indian tribal governments have, Vice President Apilado invited tribal leaders to the University to advise his office on developing relationships on-campus with members of tribal communities, and off-campus with tribal entities, urban and rural.


In 1993, more than twenty tribal member representatives from tribal governments and urban Native American Indian and Alaska Native organizations attended the first annual meeting of the NAAB on the University of Washington campus. The intention in the 1990’s was to have the Board meet on an annual basis to review and advise the Vice President’s office on various types of programming related to Native American Indian and Alaska Native issues, that might include research, services and other academic activities on the University of Washington campus.


In the 1990’s, the NAAB heard about and discussed various initiatives and programs across the campus, inclusive of, but not limited to, American Indian Studies, College of Education, the Burke Museum, Ocean & Fishery Sciences, Forestry and School of Medicine, in addition to the Office of Minority Affairs. Deans, chairs, faculty, staff and students attended the all day annual meetings to hear, answer questions, share comments, and generally learn about various opportunities to engage tribal governments, tribal organizations and tribal members in University programs. The range of conversation included access, retention, research, employment and graduation rates.

21st Century Transition

With the change in Vice Presidents of Minority Affairs in 2001, Vice President Nancy “Rusty” Barceló was given an additional title of Vice Provost for Diversity to address the increasingly changing academic focus and responsibilities of the Office of Minority Affairs on the University of Washington campus. As the office became the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMAD), Vice President Barceló increased the number of Native American Advisory Board meetings from once per year to once per quarter.

In 2003, a survey of the issues that the NAAB had been discussing was completed and the Board determined the following priorities, in the following order, to guide its agenda:

  • Native American Student Outreach and Recruitment
  • Native American Student Retention
  • Native American Staff and Faculty Recruitment, Retention and Promotion
  • Construction of a longhouse-style facility.

Intellectual House

In 2007, newly appointed Vice President for Minority Affairs & Vice Provost for Diversity Sheila Edwards Lange stepped up the conversations with the NAAB regarding the construction of the longhouse-style facility. Faculty, students and staff, along with community members were appointed to a newly found committee called the House of Knowledge Planning Advisory Board (HOKPAC), with UW faculty member Dr. Charlotte Coté serving as Chair of the Board.

Though the construction of the longhouse-style facility on the campus tied together the other NAAB initiatives (Native student, faculty and staff recruitment, retention and promotion), the conversation regarding its construction developed traction.

University of Washington Provost Phyllis Wise formally appointed the members of the HOKPAC to include students, staff and faculty, along with off-campus representatives from around the region to conceptualize and advise the University on its feasibility.

In 2010, the name wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House was gifted to the project by the late Vi Hilbert, a Lushootseed linguist and elder in the Upper Skagit Tribe. The HOKPAC was then known as the Intellectual House Advisory Committee.

wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House opened its doors on March 12, 2015.

The committee continues to report its findings and recommendations to the Vice President of Minority Affairs & Diversity and University Diversity Officer, as well as provides updates to the Native American Advisory Board. For more information on the House of Knowledge see:

NAAB’s Advisory Functions

The NAAB advises the Vice President for Minority Affairs & Diversity and University Diversity Officer on issues relating to Native American (American Indian/Alaska Native) relations with the University of Washington.

The Native American Advisory Board is made up of tribal representatives from tribal governments and Native American (American Indian/Alaska Native) organizations from around Washington State. Members serve by invitation from the Vice President for Minority Affairs & Diversity Rickey Hall. (All the Washington State tribal governments and member urban Native organizations receive updates and invitational announcements of the quarterly meetings.)

Staff and faculty, Native and non-, at the University of Washington are invited to serve as “resource” to the NAAB.

While the University of Washington’s Office of the President convenes the Tribal Leadership Summits (starting in 2008), the NAAB continues to be convened and advises the Vice President for the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity. For more information on the Summit see:

NAAB Meets Quarterly During the Academic Year

The Native American Advisory Board meetings are held on-campus, as well as, hosted off-campus by Native American tribal organizations, such as the Seattle Indian Health Board, and state and federally recognized tribal governments, such as the Duwamish Tribe, Tulalip Tribes, and Suquamish Tribe. The NAAB meets three (3) times per year, with dates determined by the Chair, Vice President and Vice Provosts offices.

NAAB Agendas

The agendas for the Native American Advisory Board are set quarterly to address the identified priorities (Native student recruitment & outreach; Native student retention; Native staff, faculty recruitment, and retention & promotion).

For more information on the Native American Advisory Board contact Iisaaksiichaa Ross Braine at 206-616-6056 or dabraine@uw.edu.