Native American Initiatives (NAI) at Notre Dame is designed to foster intellectual knowledge of and cultural respect for 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. since 2013. NAI was originally housed in the College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame and was later moved under the Department of American Studies, but works to promote Native Initiatives throughout the entire university. Will Newkirk became the Associate Director of NAI starting in the 2019-2020 school year.
We acknowledge our presence in the traditional homelands of Native peoples including the Haudenosauneega, Miami, Peoria, all of the Bodéwadkmik / Potawatomi peoples, and particularly the Pokégnek Bodéwadmik / Pokagon Potawatomi, who have been using this land for education for thousands of years and continue to do so.