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Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House

wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House

The wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House purpose is to increase American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students’ success at UW by preparing them for leadership roles in their tribal communities and the region.


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. When it opened its doors for the first time in 2015, the Intellectual House made history. The building was the culmination of a decades-long dream to create a gathering place in honor of our region’s First Nations. An iconic structure on the University of Washington campus, the Intellectual House has been home to many tribal summits and events, and it has been the site of many other university and community events. Now, it is time to complete Phase 2 by adding spaces specifically for students. Phase 2 will require a collaboration among tribes, businesses, individuals and the University.

Phase 1 History & Archives

Intellectual House Tabs
Closed for Renovation:
July 1, 2024 – July 16, 2024
Operations resume on July 17, 2024

Academic Year Hours of Operations:
Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Summer and Break Hours of Operations:
Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.


The building’s name is the Lushootseed language name for Intellectual House and was gifted by the late Vi Hilbert, a revered Lushootseed linguist and member of the Elders Committee that helped contribute to the project’s conception.

Recording was provided by Jill K. La Pointe, MSW ’88, of the Upper Skagit and Nooksack Tribes. She is the granddaughter of the late Vi Hilbert, a revered Luhshootseed linguist.

Link to know more about the naming: Rising from hallowed ground | UW Magazine

Pronunciation audio

Meet the Team

Learn more about our team and student staff

Meet the Team


Learn more about Signature & Partner and student-led events

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Submit a reservation request to reserve space at wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House.

Reservation Request

Native Garden

Currently under construction. Visit our partners at the UW Farm.

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About Phase 2

The Intellectual House (wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ) – Phase 1, completed in 2015, moved us closer toward enabling Native American students to overcome the cultural barriers they face to earning a four-year degree by creating a facility where students, faculty, staff, and Native American communities can come together in a supportive and welcoming educational environment to share their knowledge and cultures. Phase 2 is envisioned to bring additional support to Native American student retention through greater connection to their culture and community in the form of a facility that includes a Native art lab, a student resource area, a student lounge, and an outdoor gathering space surrounded by educational native gardens used in the community-led learning of indigenous science, art, and medicine.

Phase 2 Goals

  • To offer more informal gathering spaces for students to build community.
  • To provide dedicated and much needed gathering and meeting spaces for AI/AN students, faculty and staff.
  • To offer suitable workshop space for Native American art, such as wood carving, weaving, painting, beading, etc.
  • To increase support services for Native American students on campus, such as counseling, elder’s lounge, guidance counselors, etc.
  • To enhance the UW community through the recruitment of prospective students and retention and graduation of AI/AN students.

Intellectual House Fund

Gifts to the Intellectual House Fund support the planning, design, and construction of Phase 2.

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Phase 2

Phase 2 completes the vision for wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Intellectual House. Learn more about the project details and the positive impact on future UW Students.

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Phase 1 has given me a designated space on campus to find and share a space with my Native community. It empowered me as a student to connect with a familiar feeling of “home” when I walk in and see students who relate to me as an Indigenous person and Coast Salish artwork and designs. Through this space, I have made lifelong connections, allowing me to make the most out of my time here at the University of Washington.

Hailey EnickIH Student Assistant, UW Student ‘22-23

We have a cultural and intellectual space here on campus that honors us as indigenous people, that recognizes us as indigenous people, a place where we can come where we can feel safe, where we can feel comfortable, we can feel at home and we can be together…And that’s what wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House represents. That’s what it symbolizes. It’s alive.

Charlotte CotéAmerican Indian Studies Professor & Intellectual House Planning Advisory Committee Co-Chair

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