Our commitment to Native Americans

One of the university’s strategic goals is to become the nation’s leading university serving Native Americans.

Recent successes

Researching cancer

A collaboration between Northern Arizona University and the Arizona Cancer Center to research cancer disparities among Native Americans received an $8.92 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Undergraduate research

The Ottens Undergraduate Research Grant for Native Americans in Health and Environmental Sciences fuels Native American undergraduate mentors and research. The program provides students up to $8,000 each to assist with college expenses. 

Building a center at the heart of campus

Multiple focus groups comprised of Native faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members contributed to the architectural design of the Native American Cultural Center.


Provide a university climate and culture that enhance the academic experiences of Native American students, staff, and faculty

  • increase the number of full-time Native American faculty, administrators, and staff
  • promote awareness and understanding of Native American cultures
  • expand curricula that focus on and address Native American experiences
  • explore cross-disciplinary programs and approaches that incorporate Native American traditional knowledge and practices in collaboration with tribal agencies and communities

Improve the recruitment, retention, and progress of Native American students

  • increase the enrollment, retention, and progress toward graduation of Native American students
  • expand partnerships with tribal colleges to enhance opportunities for Native American students to continue their education
  • create learning pedagogies and student support frameworks leading to Native American student success
  • raise a substantial endowment to support Native American students and programs through advancement efforts
  • enhance marketing to highlight a commitment to and achievements of Native Americans

Develop collaborative service and outreach programs with Native American communities

  • strengthen and develop partnerships with tribal governments and others that benefit Native American students, researchers, faculty, and communities
  • enhance fundraising that supports Native American students, faculty, programs, and their communities
  • work with tribes to establish scholarship and retention programs and a designated Native American endowed position