Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

March 14, 2016

President Cauce Visits Lummi Nation

When University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce paid a special visit to Lummi Nation near Bellingham, on Feb. 12, it marked the first UW presidential visit to a tribal nation in almost 20 years.

Cauce, who was named to the permanent presidency in October, met with Lummi Nation Tribal Chairman Tim Ballew II and other tribal leaders. Some of the discussion focused on how the university can broaden the college pipeline for American Indian and Alaska Native students who live on reservations, especially those from Lummi Nation.

2016 Lummi Nation Visit

President Cauce is presented a gift by Lummi Nation Tribal Chairman Tim Ballew II.Erin Rowley

Chairman Ballew also led Cauce, along with UW staff and two students, on a tour through the reservation which included stops at the shellfish hatchery, Lummi Nation Early Learning Center and Northwest Indian College. The visit was coordinated through UW Tribal Liaison Iisaaksiichaa Ross Braine.

“We appreciate that the president made time to come up and also bring staff members to see some of the things that the government is doing here at the tribe, as well as some of the current partnerships that the UW has with Northwest Indian College,” Ballew said.

Among those partnerships is a collaboration between the UW, Northwest Indian College, Western Washington University and the Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction that launched an oceanographic observing buoy in Bellingham Bay. Students from all three institutions are working closely on the project.

The two UW Lummi students who accompanied Cauce and staff on the visit were senior Sharayah Lane and sophomore Kaya Warrior. Both are student ambassadors for the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity Multicultural Outreach and Recruitment Team and work with prospective American Indian and Alaska Native students.

“Since becoming a student ambassador at the UW, I’ve been a huge advocate for focusing on Native students on the reservation,” said Lane. “The odds are so much more against them for getting to college. Their needs are very different and need a different focus, and a lot more work for sure.”

The last UW president to visit a tribal nation was Richard McCormick who did so during a bus tour of the state during the late 1990’s.

Photo Gallery (click to enlarge)

Photos by Erin Rowley