Weaving Our Communities, One Student at a Time

Our Journey

An incredible journey is underway. At Northwest Indian College, we are bringing our children and grandchildren into an education that we can only imagine today as adults. It is an education about who we are as Native people. This is the Time When Our Vision Comes to Fruition. The land at the Lummi Nation near Bellingham, Washington, on which our main campus resides, comes to us from the hearts of the Chief Henry Kwina families and the Chief August Martin families. These two families made tremendous sacrifices when their individual family members came together from all over the United States to sell their land to us. Have you heard the Seventh Generation talk that we share as Native people? Through selling their lands, the Kwina and Martin families held out their hands and gave us their heritage so that we as Native people, our children and our grandchildren may have an education. It is a Seventh Generation gift.

Contribution, Spirituality, Relationships and Stewardship are Here and Present

Contributions of this type are held dear at Northwest Indian College. Spirituality is also honored here –however we might see the Creator. So is the value of relationships and diversity. Everywhere we look we see our friends, our relatives and people of our blood among us. We also value stewardship of our specific Native cultures and of our homelands. We recognize our personal and shared responsibility to protect and expand our resources.

Education Represents Our Future and Brings Us Many Things

Through education, Northwest Indian College promotes indigenous self-determination and knowledge. As the only regional tribal college in the U.S. and the only accredited tribal college in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, the College serves 40 Native tribes representing 125,000 Native persons. Over 20,000 Native American individuals live in the Puget Sound region. In our 2008-09 academic year, our diverse student body represented 100 tribes from throughout North America.

“Our educational philosophy is committed to offering an opportunity for a postsecondary education that is provided from within the Native American community. We honor individual Native cultures, languages, and traditions while, at the same time, operating within the arena of Western education.” - Cheryl Crazy Bull, Former NWIC President

Addressing Student and Community Needs

Our Native community (at the Lummi Nation and throughout the Northwest and U.S.) was once one of cultural, social and economic abundance. Today, however, our original inhabitants remain among the poorest citizens and experience the lowest level of education. (While 50% of the Native population is under the age of 18, the high school drop-out rate remains as high as 50%. Only 6% of the Native American population has completed four or more years of college — one quarter of the rate of all Americans.)

Restoring a Culture of Abundance Through Education

The higher education model at Northwest Indian College was developed by the Lummi Nation and continuously evolves to honor individual Native cultures, languages and traditions. By recognizing the special circumstances of Native students within the framework of an accredited, two-year and four-year college curriculum, Northwest Indian College:

Helps us know who we are as people

Education embraces the living values of our individual tribes and celebrates the diversity of our tribal communities while, at the same time, bringing traditional ways into contact and interaction with contemporary society.

Promotes wellness, healthy living and makes us good parents, relatives and citizens

Education builds sustainable tribal communities and people through promotion of healthy living, development of future leaders of Indian Country, and community development activities.

Takes us out of poverty

Education strengthens individual prosperity and tribal sovereignty through research, partnerships and training that support workforce development, encourage new enterprises, and address the economic conditions of tribal communities and beyond.

What We Will See

A Sanctuary of Learning

A long time ago, education wasn’t in a school. We got our education from being together, by teaching each other and by learning together. Today, our world has schools and buildings in which we gather people together. That is a challenge for us as Native people. We must bring our spirituality, our relationships and our education together. What will we create together? We will create a sanctuary – a safe place for all of us to learn.

The Birth of a University

The College is moving forward more quickly than we ever imagined toward offering educational opportunities that fulfill our ancestors’ dreams. $36.6 million of our $44 million capital campaign goal has been pledged.

Center for Student Success (Open)

The Center for Student Success will bring together all of the services that students need – from registration to financial aid. Cost: $3.6M

Natural Resources Laboratory (Open)

The new facility supports the College’s first fouryear Bachelor of Science degree in Native Environmental Science. Cost: $2M.

Swinomish Classroom/Office Building (Open)

At our Swinomish extended site, a new classroom and office building now stands on a site secured by the Swinomish people. Cost: $1.4M

Improved Distance Learning (Completed)

For many valid reasons, Native Americans are “place bound” because of family obligations, work and transportation. Distance learning takes the college to the people. Approximately 75% of our students are served via distance learning and other means of non-standard course delivery (including web-based courses and interactive television courses). Cost: $5.9M

Cooperative Extension Building (Open)

NWIC's $1.3 million Cooperative Extension Building is a gathering place for those who work with the College's community outreach, wellness, financial literacy and community education services. The new building opened in December of 2011.

Salish Sea Research Center (Under Construction)

The construction of the 4,200-square-foot Salish Sea Research Center is being supported by a $1.57 million grant from the National Science Foundation. This building will provide needed facilities for the expanding environmental and marine science research program at NWIC.

Coast Salish Institute and Siam Laleng (site work has begun)

The Coast Salish Institute and Siam Laleng (the Honorable House of Learning) preserve and revitalize Coast Salish culture by examining the identity and ancestral history of the Coast Salish people and their connection to the land. Cost: $4.2M

Library Technology Building (site work has begun)

The Library serves students, faculty and members of the greater Native community. Cost: $4.0M

Additional projects include:

North Campus Renovations Cost: $350K

PHASE I ACCOMPLISHMENTS $8.2 M

Our Phase I buildings opened in 2007 and 2008. Your financial support helps with furniture,equipment and endowment needs. Student Housing (67 Beds) Open Approximately 50% of the College’s students live in substandard housing. In addition, the average rental price in Bellingham is more than Native American's attending the College can afford. Northwest Indian College is one of the few tribal colleges with student housing. The creation of a residential learning environment where students share academic, social and cultural experiences in an alcohol and drug free atmosphere strengthens the likelihood of student success. Cost: $5.3M

Daycare/Early Learning Center (Open)

Our students are older (nearly 2/3 are over 30). They work more hours than traditional students and many are single parents with children. Quality daycare on campus allows these students to focus on their studies. Cost: $1.1M

Kwina Classroom/Office (Open)

The College’s first permanent classroom/office building serves as a model for others. Cost: $1M
Building Sustainability Through Endowment Building endowments helps to secure a quality education into the future. Cost: $.8M

Phase IV $6.2M

Another $6.2 million of capital improvements are in final master planning for construction by 2011-12. Facilities include a new Workforce Training & Technology Building and additional classrooms.

Building Fundraising Capacity & Financial Independence $3.7M

The College and Foundation are raising $3.7 million for scholarships, operations, the development of our four-year degree programs, and endowments. Over $3.25 million is pledged with $450,000 left to raise.

NWIC Lummi Campus Map

NWIC Lummi Campus Map