The American Indian Resource Center feels a responsibility to acknowledge that the land that the University of Utah resides on has always been indigenous lands. It is also imperative that we acknowledge the deep history of these peoples. We acknowledge the enduring relationship that exists between indigenous peoples and their traditional territories. This is an expression of gratitude and appreciation of their persevering to protect this land for future generations. The erasure of this relationship between those peoples and their traditional homelands is an insidious form of ongoing colonization and we need to build our mindfulness of this and other indigenous protocols.
The mission of the American Indian Resource Center (AIRC) at the University of Utah is to advocate for American Indian and Alaskan Native students through recruitment and retention projects that lead to graduation. The AIRC serves as a vital link between American Indian and Alaskan Native students; the University; and the larger community. The AIRC works to increase American Indian student visibility and success on campus by advocating for and providing student centered programs and tools to enhance academic success, cultural events to promote personal wellbeing, and a supportive “home-away-from-home” space for students to grow and develop leadership skills. The AIRC strives to advance public education concerning contemporary issues in American Indians and Alaskan Natives communities. The AIRC also seeks to promote outreach and collaboration with tribal nations and American Indian communities throughout the State of Utah and the region.
- Recruitment – To increase the number of American Indian students who enroll at the University of Utah.
- Retention – To increase the retention and graduation rate of American Indian students at the University of Utah.
- Culture – To increase the cultural and historical competency of American Indians for all students, staff, and faculty at the University of Utah.
- Community Outreach – To increase communication and collaborative relationships with tribal nations and American Indian communities throughout the State of Utah.
Our Advisors and Staff
Franci Taylor (Choctaw)
Director of the American Indian Resource Center
Groups & Associations
American Indian Business Leaders (AIBL)
AIBL is the only American Indigenous non-profit organization solely dedicated to empowering business students in the United States. Our programs are designed to engage students in activities that stimulate, enhance, and expand educational experiences beyond traditional academic methods. All students are encouraged to participate in AIBL regardless of race, academic major, or career objectives.
AIBL’s vision over the next decade is to become the pre-eminent national non-profit organization serving American Indians and Alaska Natives by providing business and entrepreneurship education, leadership development training, and the necessary support to help young men and women who aspire to pursue studies and careers in business, entrepreneurship, or related disciplines.
American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)
The mission of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) is to substantially increase the representation of American Indians and Alaskan Natives in engineering, science, and other related technology disciplines. Since 1977, AISES has worked to substantially increase American Indian and Alaska Native representation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields as students, professionals, mentors, and leaders. AISES employs a “full circle of support” model that begins with pre-college programs, progresses into collegiate life, and then into the professional years of members and on into retirement.
American Indian Women and Allies Association (AIWAA)
AIWAA’s mission is to provide a venue and safe location for American Indian women and their allies to gather and share interests and concerns, Meetings include a monthly pot luck and talking circle.
Inter-Tribal Student Association (ITSA)
“We Native American students at the University of Utah, in order to promote greater unity and understanding among ourselves, and the community; to further our own academic achievements; and to strengthen our unique cultural roots, do hereby organize ourselves as the Inter-Tribal Student Association”.
ITSA is the primary American Indian Student Group. Along with weekly meeting they sponsor the American Indian High School Conference and the Annual Honoring Our Traditions Pow Wow. If you would like more information about meetings and how to become involved please contact the ITSA officers using the email link above.
Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
SACNAS – Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science – is an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in STEM. Their mission is to promote professional development, scientific understanding and higher education within underrepresented minorities in the sciences at the undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral levels.
The University of Utah SACNAS Chapter is dedicated to fostering the success of underrepresented undergraduate students, graduate students and post-docs on campus to pursue advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in science.
Programs & Events
Soup & Tutoring
Soup & Tutoring is held every first Tuesday of the month in the American Indian Resource Center (AIRC). This event not only provides delicious soup, but the opportunity to receive tutoring for any subject with which you might need a little extra help. Tutors range from graduate students, primarily in the stem fields, to professors.
Year-End honoring & Graduation Ceremony
In partnership with the Office of Health Equity & Inclusion, the American Indian Resource Center hosts year-end ceremony celebrating the Native graduates of each academic year.
The University of Utah’s Inter-Tribal Student Association hosts the Pow Wow at the U annually. This event is an opportunity for tribal members throughout the Intermountain West and others to meet to honor the cultural and religious practices of the American Indian community. The ceremonial Grand Entry is a cultural and spiritual tradition where a parade of participants enters the dance circle hosted by northern and southern drummers.
Blessing the Journey
At the beginning of each Fall Semester, the American Indian Resource Center hosts Blessing the Journey, where a student may receive a blessing from an elder. This event connects individuals to people, resources, and support services in one place.
American Indian Woman Scholar
The American Indian Woman Scholar serves as representative of Native students at the University of Utah and surrounding communities. A new ambassador is chosen annually and contributes to community outreach.
Pathways for American Indians Through Higher Education (PATHs)
The College of Education at the University of Utah is dedicated to creating pathways for American Indians that lead to educational excellence in a variety of education fields. Four departments and the Urban Institute for Teacher Education offer preparation for teachers, leaders, counselors, and educational researchers – as well as an annual lecture series.
Federally Recognized Tribes of Utah
Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation
The Utes have a tribal membership of 2,970 and over half of its membership lives on the Reservation. They operate their own tribal government and oversee approximately 1.3 million acres of trust land. The Utes also operate several businesses including a Super Market, Gas Stations, Bowling Alley, Tribal Feedlot, Uinta River Technologies, Ute Tribal Enterprises LLC and Water Systems. Cattle raising and mining of oil and natural gas is big business on the reservation. Water Systems manager provides water and sewer needs for several communities.
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is one of the tribes of the Ute Nation. Their reservation is located in southwest Colorado, southeast Utah, and northern New Mexico. The two communities on the reservation are at the tribal headquarters in Towaoc, Colorado and in White Mesa, Utah.
Confederated Tribes of Goshute
The Confederated Tribes of Goshute is one of the two bands of the Goshute Nation, the other being the Skull Valley Band. They are located southeast of Wendover, near the Deep Creek Mountains, and their 112,870 acre reservation, the Deep Creek Reservation, is in White Pine County, Nevada, and Juab and Tooele counties in Utah. The membership of the Confederated Tribes is around 400. They are one of the Shoshonean (Numic) speaking groups of the Intermountain West.
Skull Valley Band of Goshute
The Skull Valley Band of Goshutes is a sovereign federally recognized tribe located inTooele county, Utah established in October 1863. It is one of the two bands of the Goshute Nation, the other being the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute. The band has a reservation of 17,920 acres in Tooele County, at Skull Valley, Utah, and their membership is 127.
Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah
The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, or “PITU” as it is often called, was created on April 3, 1980 by an act of Congress (25 U.S.C. § 761). The Tribe consists of five constituent bands: Cedar, Indian Peaks, Kanosh, Koosharem, and Shivwits. These five Bands have independent identities as communities that date back hundreds of years.
Their reservation is in southwestern Utah, with various areas in different counties. The Cedar, Indian Peaks, and Paiute Indian bands live on 2,922 acres in Iron County; the Kanosh Band live on 1,342 acres in Millard County; the Koosharem Band have 1,274 acres in Sevier County; and the Shivwits Band have 28, 229 acres, the largest area, in Washington County. Their tribal membership is currently around 800, although their numbers were in the thousands in the past.
San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe
The San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe was federally recognized in 1990, but has lived for centuries east of the Grand Canyon, between the San Juan and Colorado Rivers. It is one of the smallest tribes in Arizona, with membership around 300, and it is included as part of the Navajo Nation land. The tribe lives in communities in Northern Arizona, the largest in Willow Springs, near Tuba City, and in Paiute Canyon near the Arizona-Utah border.
In 1907, their land in southern Utah was proclaimed as the Paiute Strip Reservation. However, in 1922 it was integrated into Navajo land and they lost their land base. Although their land is included in the Navajo Nation, their language and culture is distinct from the Navajo.
Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation
The Northwestern Band of Shoshone live in southern Idaho and northern Utah, covering land in Blackfoot, Idaho and Bingham County in Idaho, and Brigham City, Utah, and Box Elder County in Utah. Their headquarters are in Brigham City, Utah, but they also have a tribal office in Pocatello, Idaho. They became a federally recognized tribe in 1987.
American Indian Graduate Center
The American Indian Graduate Center provides financial support for American Indians and Alaska Natives seeking higher education, and support them in attaining undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. They partner with Tribes, the federal government, foundations, corporations, and individuals to ensure the growth and sustainability of scholarships.
Navajo Nation Teacher Education Consortium (NNTEC)
The Navajo Nation Teacher Education Consortium originated from the Navajo Teacher Initiative developed in 1992 to improve the quality of Navajo education through the recruitment and training of prospective Navajo educators. At that time, President Peterson Zah sought the sponsorship and funding of the Ford Foundation and set a goal to educate 1,000 Navajo teachers in 5 years. Now, 25 years later, the initiative is being redesigned to establish a Resource Center for Navajo educators and includes a recruitment pipeline.
Utah Division of Indian Affairs
The Commission on State Indian Affairs was created in 1953 when the Utah State Legislature passed the “Indian Affairs Act.” The first director for the commission was hired in 1956. The commission was restructured in 1999 as the Division of Indian Affairs. It is currently staffed by the Director, Program Manager, and Administrative Assistant. It is part of the Department of Heritage & Arts.
Utah Department of Health – American Indian/Alaska Native Initiatives
The American Indian/Alaska Native Initiatives is located in the Division of Family Health & Preparedness, Director’s Office at the Highland Drive Building, Salt Lake City, UT. It is staffed by the Indian Health Liaison ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) or 801-273-6644. The mission of the initiative is to raise the health status of Utah’s American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) population to that of Utah’s general population.