Indigenous Service Learning





What is Indigenous Service Learning?

Indigenous Service Learning (ISL) at Northwest Indian College promotes experiential learning to sustain the connections of people, place, and the natural world. It is grounded on indigenous ecological knowledge that life is interconnected.  People and place are interwoven in patterns that are reciprocal, cyclical, and animated with spirit. This program fosters serving and caring for one another in these relational circles.

Indigenous Service Learning combines curriculum with hands-on, experiential learning that meets the needs of Native peoples and their communities and deepens indigenous connections, while building leaders for the next generation.

At Northwest Indian College the world is our classroom and through service we are planting the seeds of change.

Upcoming Event: Student Service Awards

Our People

Noelani Kanuha Bumatay-Jefferson (Aure)

Director of Indigenous Service Learning 
Contact: Phone: 360-392-4213


A member of the Nooksack and Sto:lo Nations, and of Kanaka Maoli decent, Noelani grew up just upriver on the Nooksack Reservation; raised by her Nooksack/Sto:lo/Kanaka Maoli mother, Andrea Bumatay, and her Lummi father, Joseph Jefferson Sr. While still young, Noelani found her passion for traditional lifeways and education; From swimming the flows of the Nooksack River all Summer long, to dancing the hula for a lifetime… From firing up oysters on the beaches that overlook Kulshan and the Twin Sisters, to serving as a Youth Leader for the Nooksack Tribal Youth Program, starting at age 14. Noelani graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts; achieving an American Indian Studies Major and Diversity Minor. Following, and even through her studies in Seattle, Noelani continued her work for the Nooksack Tribal Youth Program as a Youth Leader, as a Language Classroom Assistant and then as an educator in their Academic Enrichment Center. Here she helped develop culturally relevant after school and summer program curricula and aided in academic, social, recreational, and cultural programming. There her diverse endeavors in teaching began, including a pre-school teaching experience at the Seattle Infant Development Center in downtown Seattle. All through college Noelani served in various leadership positions for the First Nations @ UW student organization, the Polynesian Student Alliance student group, and in Native and Pacific Islander mentorship programs. At the university, Noelani fueled her love for people, communities and diversity by taking advantage of traveling through a National Student Exchange to the University of Hawaii at Manoa for a year, where she immersed herself in her Hawaiian Language and culture. She also studied abroad to Roma, where she learned about the ancient culture, architectural structures, and topography. Most recently Noelani worked in the Native American Career and Technical Education Program (NACTEP) as the construction program Recruiter and Advisor; And today, Noelani serves as the Student Activities (SA) and Indigenous Service Learning (ISL) Coordinator at NWIC.  ISL and SA work hand in hand to integrate cultural/leadership activities into the academic setting. This develops student leaders all the while serving and addressing the relative needs of the community.  I hope our paths intersect.