2024 NASPA Annual Conference

Indigenous Engagement

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect."
Chief Si'ahl

If you are joining the 2024 NASPA Annual Conference in person, your presence in this place, named for Chief Si’ahl of the Suquamish and Duwamish Tribes and now known as Seattle, should be coupled with the labor and context of how you came to occupy this place, and your relationship with and to this land. If you are joining the NASPA Virtual Experience, the same work can and should take place with regard to the place where you live and learn. 

We encourage you to situate yourself in this labor, and to know that who you are, in relation to where you are, is a vital cognizance grounded in humility and empathy. 

The language above has been developed by members of past Conference Leadership Committee Indigenous Engagement Work Groups.

Opening Session Welcome

We are grateful to these leaders from Chief Seattle Club for joining us for the Annual Conference Opening Session on Sunday, March 11, at 5:30 p.m.

Nawiishtunmi Nightgun

Nawiishtunmi Nightgun, Chief Traditional Officer, Chief Seattle Club

Nawiishtunmi is an enrolled member of the confederated tribes and bands of the Yakama Nation and is a descendant to the Blackfeet Nation. Nawiishtunmi was born and raised in traditional values. Nawiishtunmi is a mother of three who teaches and learns with her children about plant medicines, harvesting, and cultivating Indigenous foods. Previously Nawiishtunmi has worked in urban Native homelessness as a programs director, housing director, and housing case manager. She advocates for tribal identification in the homelessness management information system, serves as vice president of the board of Pathwaves Washington, and previously co-chaired the CEA Public Policy Committee and served as a delegate to the Indian Policy Advisory Committee. Nawiishtunmi conducts trainings about decolonizing data, decolonization, and the history of Native people experiencing homelessness. 

Nathan Jarosch

Nathan Jarosch, Traditional Mental Health Staff, Chief Seattle Club

Nathan grew up near the Lower Sioux Community in Morton, Minnesota, and learned traditional Dakota culture, history, and spiritual practices from community members. Nathan has also regained traditional knowledge, ceremony, language, and art from Lakota elders and spiritual advisors as well. Nathan’s professional background has mostly been centered in the social services field, working particularly with individuals with both physical and developmental disabilities. Nathan has also worked with Native youth at the Labateyah youth home as well with elders from the Muckleshoot community as a caregiver. Before coming to Chief Seattle Club, Nathan served community members in the Traditional Medicine Program at the Seattle Indian Health Board. Nathan continues to learn other tribal customs, traditional plant medicine, and community practices of the Pacific Northwest and is passionate about sharing his knowledge and experience with members here in Seattle.

Tribal Communities in the State of Washington 

View a map of present‐day Native American tribal entities based in the state of Washington, whether or not they are currently recognized by the United States government.

Learn about the Indigenous Tribes of Seattle and Washington with this list of resources from the American Library Association.

Local Organizations

Chief Seattle Club

Chief Seattle Club is a Native-led housing and human services agency that provides sacred space to nurture, affirm, and strengthen the spirit of urban Native people. We invite you to support the Club's Winter Drive through February 15. 

Seattle Indian Health Board

The Seattle Indian Health Board provides health and human services rooted in Indigenous knowledge, advocacy, and data research focused specifically on the nationwide urban American Indian and Alaska Native population. 

United Indians of All Tribes Foundation

The United Indians of All Tribes Foundation provides community services for Native Americans and Indigenous People, including homelessness prevention, youth shelter, native elder services, veteran programs, and more. The foundation is housed at the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, which also houses permanent and rotating collections of Native art, and hosts the annual Seattle Powwow and Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations. 

Learn, Support, and Act

Support Inspired Natives™, not Native-Inspired

Eighth Generation is a Seattle-based art and lifestyle brand owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe, founded in 2008 by Louie Gong (Nooksack). Anchored by the tagline “Inspired Natives™, not Native-inspired,” Eighth Generation builds business capacity among cultural artists and addresses the economic impact of cultural appropriation. 

Hibulb Cultural Center

Hibulb Cultural Center features exhibits, classrooms, a longhouse, research library, and a 50-acre natural history preserve dedicated to restoring, protecting, and enhancing the beliefs and values of the Tulalip Tribes. 

Bring Attention to the MMIWGP Crisis

In 2020 Congress passed Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act to coordinate data collection and response to address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and people. Washington State rates second-highest in the nation for missing Indigenous women cases in urban centers, and Seattle rates first among cities nationwide in MMIWG cases. This violence transcends reservation and urban boundaries. 

Learn about the Canoe Journey

Begun in 1989 to reclaim, celebrate, and transmit Indigenous culture and ways of knowing, "hundreds of ocean-going canoes travel from their home waters to a host Nation, stopping to visit different communities along the way" (Adriana Perrrusquia, Jul 18, 2019, 5 Things Every Seattleite Should Know About Tribal Canoe Journey). 

Additional Resources

Native Land Digital strives to create and foster conversations about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations, through educational resources such as our map and Territory Acknowledgement Guide. 

Learn about the NASPA Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community and explore the resources members have gathered to increase understanding of, and institutional commitment toward, Indigenous peoples in higher education.