About NAI

Pokagon Band Flag

Native American Initiatives (NAI) at Notre Dame is designed to foster intellectual knowledge of and cultural respect for the Native American and Indigenous experiences and to learn from Native communities as part of our learning goals at the university. NAI collaborates with divisions and departments across campus to offer Native American programming that will enrich the entire campus and offer opportunities to learn more about histories that often go un-told or undertold.

NAI was created in response to growing interest in Native American studies and topics across campus. NAI was founded and led by Laurie Arnold, (Colville) Ph.D. in its early years and has continued under Interim Director Brian Collier, Ph.D. from 2013 - 2023. NAI  was originally housed in the the College of Arts & Letters at Notre Dame and was later moved to he Department of American Studies, but still  works to promote Native Initiatives throughout the entire university. Will Newkirk became the Associate Director of NAI in 2019 and stayed on until 2023. 

We acknowledge our presence on the traditional homelands of Native peoples, including the Haudenosauneega, Miami, Peoria, and particularly the Pokégnek Bodéwadmik / Pokagon Potawatomi, who have been using this land for education for hundreds of years, and continue to do so. We know land acknowledgments are always a work in progress; we last updated this on May 14, 2023.