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Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies Leadership

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This program of study is the journey to self-determination and reclaiming our Cultural Sovereignty.

Traditional knowledge is our canoe. It moves us away from the Western genre that has shaped and determined a false sense of “who we are” and towards our original identity – an identity that is formed by sacred histories, language, origin stories, and the heroes who continue to defend our families and our homelands.

Department Chair & Faculty

Brandon Morris

Interim Department Chair
Location: Bldg 21 – Coast Salish Institute
Phone: (360) 392-4223




In Coast Salish territory, the people of pre-contact times lived in highly complex social and family structures. This required individuals and family groups to exercise extensive effective communication. Every leader was multilingual in order to communicate and
collaborate with their neighbors. This remains true today. Students who aspire to become leaders in their own communities will bring their ancestors’ skills from traditional times into contemporary settings to achieve strong and sound sovereignty.

Upon successful completion of this program, students will:

  • Demonstrate effective communication in diverse situations, both verbally and non-verbally, in ways that are appropriate to our culture(s).
  • Demonstrate the ability to speak on behalf of their Tribal communities without expressing individual self-interest.


The Coast Salish people have values that are imprinted from an early age. These values of endurance, honor, integrity, respect, and humility allow leaders to make informed decisions based on quality knowledge that supports Indigenousness, sovereignty, and the protection of our homelands.

Upon successful completion of this program, students will:

Adhere to traditional values by making quality decisions that defend cultural knowledge, Tribal communities, and traditional homelands. This is demonstrated through use of the values:

  • Honor and integrity
  • Respect

Take an active approach to community building by participating in service learning projects. This is demonstrated through the use of the values:

  • Endurance
  • Humility


The Coast Salish are very intentional in teaching foundational knowledge to their young leaders. In this program, students develop the ability to differentiate between their inherent birthright and the acquired rights conferred by the federal government.

Upon successful completion of this program, students will:

  • Advocate for their inherent rights based on the origin stories and traditional knowledge that is passed down through the language.
  • Examine, or inspect acquired rights by interpreting, analyzing, and evaluating treaties, federal law and policy as they apply to Indian Country.


Traditional Coast Salish leaders made great sacrifices to defend their inherent sovereignty. Through the language and teachings of their elders, these leaders developed skills, values, and knowledge that ensured the survival of our inherent rights.

Upon successful completion of this program, students will:

  • Apply and defend the two guiding principles of Indigenousness and sovereignty.
  • Embrace the skills, values, and knowledge that reflect our traditional ideology which allows us to be inherently sovereign.

Student Life

NWIC students are encouraged to engage and integrate into the life of the institution. Students are offered opportunities to participate in enrichment activities through Student Affairs, student government, and residence life.

Financial Aid

Northwest Indian College administers a broad range of financial aid, scholarships, and work-study programs for students who can demonstrate financial need.

NWIC Extended Campus Locations

Northwest Indian College‘s main campus is located at the Lummi Nation. The College also has six full service extended campus sites located at Muckleshoot, Nez Perce, Nisqually, Port Gamble S’Klallam, Swinomish, and Tulalip. Please use the location links to view details for each extended campus site.

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