San Miguel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, of Southern California,
makes the donation after NAU pledges $3 million.
Southern California Indian tribe has donated $2 million toward a
Native American cultural center at Northern Arizona University's
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.
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.
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."
on the building is expected to begin in spring 2010.
president John Haeger and Talakte traveled to San Bernardino this
week to accept a check from the San Manuel tribe.
said the tribe became interested in the building project with the
understanding that if they gave money, NAU would commit additional
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
environment of this nature begs for a strong and progressive relationship
between the tribes and the university," he stated.
center will offer support services to Native students, as well as
outreach to broaden cultural understanding among non-Natives.
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.
Davis can be reached at 556-2261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ROOTS, NATIVE FUTURES
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 Shelley.Silbert@nau.edu.