Education & Service 

Home away from home

Applied Indigenous Studies Mentoring Native American Cultural Center Office of Indigenous Student Success

NAU’s Native American Cultural Center (NACC) serves as a gathering space for Native American, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian students.

For Emile Eich, BS Psychology, ’19, the NACC became her home away from home. Exactly as its designers intended.

“Before I came to NAU, I had a hard time finding my identity,” Eich said. “But taking Applied Indigenous Studies classes and having this Native American Cultural Center building, I was really able to find my niche. I practically lived there.”

The 12,000 square-foot NACC opened in 2011. Its design was the result of input from the leaders of 22 tribes. The beautiful building features curved hallways around a central social space, rooms for resident Elders, a modern conference room, and a window framing the sacred San Francisco Peaks. The main doors open to the east. Like many traditional Indigenous homes, the NACC has an opening in the center of the building. The NACC also hosts a Story Room, specifically designed to accommodate students’ spiritual needs.

The NACC is a place to celebrate culture and build community.

Located in the heart of campus, the building serves as a gathering space for Native American, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian students. It is a place to celebrate culture and build community. Through the center, students can interact with peers, seek academic support, and feel pride in their university involvement, whether they are on campus or linking to the university through extended campus programs.

The facility houses activities that support student recruitment and retention, serving as a point of connection for Native and Indigenous groups and programs on campus and with Tribal communities. The center embodies Native values and symbolizes NAU’s commitment to Native Americans.

“I like to express my experience in this building as a full immersion,” Eich said. “I heard Navajo every day there. I could just pop into a faculty member’s office and ask all these questions—ask how to pronounce a word.”

What you will find at the NACC

Services at the NACC:

  • computer lounge
  • Elder Cultural Advisors Program
  • free Native American- and Indigenous-related lectures and workshops
  • Student-to-Student Connections Program
  • Mentoring Program
  • Native American alumni outreach

Resources at the NACC

Office of Indigenous Student Success (OISS) – Located on the west side of the NACC, OISS offers students the opportunity to connect with the campus community through a wide variety of events, activities, programs, and presentations, in addition to offering guidance on balancing academic and cultural commitments. Services include:

  • one-on-one academic, financial aid, personal, and cultural guidance
  • peer mentor support
  • connections to resources for tutoring, child care, and more
  • cultural events and activities
  • computer lab and study lounge
  • free faxing

Applied Indigenous Studies (AIS) – The AIS academic program is designed to provide students with the knowledge and tools to contribute to the sustainability of Indigenous communities in the twenty-first century. Students can choose from among three bachelor’s degrees and four minors.

Student photographers at the Grand Canyon.