Instructional Leadership, emphasis: K-12 School Leadership (MEd)
Students outside the Native American Cultural Center

Office of Native American Initiatives

Northern Arizona University is unique in its mission to become the leading university serving Native Americans. The Office of Native American Initiatives (ONAI) was established to make this mission a reality. ONAI seeks to make a substantial and enduring contribution to a new era in American Indian self-determination by:

  • partnering with Native American communities
  • collaborating with tribal colleges and universities
  • contributing to a culture of support for Native American students
  • building bridges to and from Indigenous-serving institutions across the globe

ONAI programs

ONAI has five different programs and several partners that support NAU’s Native American goal.

In recognition of NAU’s leadership in serving Indigenous students, the Mellon Foundation has provided a grant of $5 million, matched by the NAU Foundation, for a total of $10 million toward the Seven Generations Signature Initiative (7GSI) and the Seven Generations Indigenous Knowledges Center (7Gen Center).

ONAI/NAU researchers are also among the leadership of the NSF-funded Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science (CBIKS).

Our Flagstaff campus also houses five different programs and several partners that support NAU’s Native American goal.

Native American Cultural Center

The Native American Cultural Center (NACC) is the central hub for Native American and Indigenous activities. They provide resources to the campus community and local organizations.

Institute for Native-serving Educators

The goal of the Institute for Native-serving Educators (INE) is to be the premier pre K-12 professional development institute of choice for Native Nations in the United States. The institute houses all professional development partnerships and programs for teachers and administrators in early childhood programs through high school.

Tribal Leadership Initiative

The Tribal Leadership Initiative provides training and support for current and future tribal leaders through graduate curricula, executive education, youth leadership programs, fellowships, and more.

Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals

The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) focuses on the protection and sustainability of Native American land, strengthening tribal capacity and sovereignty in environmental and resource management through culturally relevant education, research, partnerships and policy-based services.


The Development program of ONAI focuses on locating resources for NAUs Native American and Indigenous community. Current work is focused on an expansion of the Native American Cultural Center to include additional office spaces, classrooms, and activity areas for the community.

Students sitting on steps at NAU

Partners Office of Indigenous Student Success

The Office of Indigenous Student Success (OISS) provides culturally competent, individualized support for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students at NAU.

Honoring roots

Supporting and encouraging Indigenous students

The Office of Native American Initiatives in conjunction with NAU Marketing, worked together to create logos and graphics that represent ONAIs Core Values of Relationships, Responsibility, Respect, and Resilience. These logos and graphics are a collective representation of values that are upheld within many different Indigenous communities.

The four cardinal directions are considered sacred in Native American cultures.


The water droplet shape is found in Native American jewelry and other circular designs.


The sun illustrates responsibility by showing the effect that it has by reaching out with its rays.


The corn stalk likeness is found on many Native American images.


Additional resources

Questions? Call 928-523-9557 or email