Office of the President

March 13, 2015

A historic day for the UW and Native Tribes of our region

Office of the President

As one of the world’s greatest public universities, the University of Washington is committed to cultivating our culture of diversity. The opening yesterday of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House (wash-LEB-alt) marked a historic day for both the University of Washington and the Native Tribes of our region.

This building is the culmination of a decades-long dream to create a gathering place in honor of our region’s First Nations. The Intellectual House — as well as much of the UW campus — rests on the sacred ground of the Duwamish Tribe’s first home and will serve as a meeting place for indigenous people from the Northwest, the U.S. and around the world. It will also be a campus home for academic offerings led by our American Indian Studies Department, strengthening our teaching, research and student recruitment.

I was deeply honored to meet the elected leaders of our region’s tribal governments and to see the outpouring of support and enthusiasm for this special place.

After the cedar ribbon-cutting, wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House hosted another important event — a Tribal Leadership Summit — at which I affirmed our commitment to honor this partnership, see through priorities such as the construction of phase two of this longhouse-style facility, and to holding annual meetings with the elected leaders of the tribes.

To deepen the University’s engagement with tribal governments in Washington state, I have also asked the Office of External Affairs to support the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity on three new initiatives in the upcoming year:

  1. Re-establish government to government training for senior leadership at the University as called for in the 1989 Centennial Accord.
  2. Work with our Vice Provost for Innovation to conduct a workshop on innovation and entrepreneurship for interested tribal members.
  3. Investigate the potential of partnering with tribal governments and the state Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) to pursue high-priority economic development projects for Washington tribes.

A strong connection with leaders from across the region is essential to the UW’s ability to effectively fulfill our public promise to educate, serve, and provide research and economic opportunities for all of Washington’s citizens. Please join me in supporting this essential work on behalf of all whom we serve.

We have so much opportunity to work toward these and other initiatives that will benefit the greater community and beyond. Together, the possibilities are limitless.


Ana Mari

Photo of the entrance to the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House

The entrance to the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual HousePhoto by Kathryn Sauber

Photo of tribal elder

Tribal eldersPhoto courtesy of Carmen Español/Capital Projects Office

Photo of tribal drummers

Tribal drummersPhoto by Janae Davis

Photo of Ana Mari Cauce at a tribal meeting

Interim President Ana Mari Cauce gives opening remarks prior to the the cedar ribbon-cutting at the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House.Photo courtesy of Carmen Español/Capital Projects Office