Canku Ota Logo
Canku Ota
Canku Ota Logo
(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
pictograph divider
Tribe gives $2M toward Native American Center at NAU
by HILLARY DAVIS - Arizona Daily Sun Staff Reporter

The San Miguel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, of Southern California, makes the donation after NAU pledges $3 million.

A Southern California Indian tribe has donated $2 million toward a Native American cultural center at Northern Arizona University's Mountain Campus.

The gift from the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, the indigenous people of the San Bernardino mountains and valleys, is the first major contribution to NAU's Native Roots, Native Futures fundraising campaign. The new facility, which will be located on North Campus not far from the University Union, will cost $6 million. Another $2 million will be dedicated to programs and scholarships.

Catherine Talakte, director of Native American Student Services, said she was pleased and pleasantly surprised with the large gift. She said Native American Student Services has outgrown its shared space in the University Union with Multicultural Student Services and Student Support Services, and with its new space can reach a wider population.

"Most importantly, it's going to be a home away from home for a lot of our native students," Talakte said. "It'll give them an opportunity to interact more with each other, but also interact more with the faculty and staff on campus."

Construction on the building is expected to begin in spring 2010.

NAU president John Haeger and Talakte traveled to San Bernardino this week to accept a check from the San Manuel tribe.

Haeger said the tribe became interested in the building project with the understanding that if they gave money, NAU would commit additional dollars.

"We drafted these proposals and we sent them to San Manuel -- probably, we started talking to them a year and a half, two years ago," he said. "We made a commitment if they went forward, we'd go forward -- and it made a commitment to campus. So it's one of those things where you have to maintain your commitments."

Haeger said the university does not have the $3 million right now, but will commit to additional debt service. He estimated it would be a year and a half before the first debt service payment.

Haeger, along with Talakte, also said he was confident that the campaign would be able to raise the remaining $1 million to finish the center. He said the center indicates NAU's commitment to its Native community.

NAU is one of the top 10 institutions in the country for Native American student enrollment, and is in the top five for awarding Natives degrees. More than 1,300 Native American students at the university represent 62 tribes.

In a press release, San Manuel Chairman James Ramos said NAU's proximity to government centers and several prominent Indian nations will make the center a model for others to work with tribal nations.

"An environment of this nature begs for a strong and progressive relationship between the tribes and the university," he stated.

The center will offer support services to Native students, as well as outreach to broaden cultural understanding among non-Natives.

The center, which can enter the design phase with the gift, will house the university's Native American Student Services, admissions support, financial aid guidance, classrooms, a computer area, a kitchen, lounges and a venue for presentations, gatherings and ceremonies. The facility will also feature sustainable design principles and traditions from Southwestern Native cultures.

Hillary Davis can be reached at 556-2261 or

So far, the Native Roots, Native Futures campaign has raised $2,039,000. For more information, including how to give, contact Shelley Silbert, development officer in University Advancement, at 523-7635 or

pictograph divider
Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us
Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us
pictograph divider
  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  
Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 of Vicki Barry and Paul Barry.
Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo
The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 of Paul C. Barry.
All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter
Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!