"When I first walked on that campus, the beautiful thing that I felt there was the Spirit.
The Spirit said 'Come'. This is a place for people to hear what your ancestors wanted you to pass on."
—Vi Hilbert (Upper Skagit), Daniel J. Evans Chair Scholar (1995)
"Evergreen is an institution of education that conveys the lessons of the past to the leaders of tomorrow. Through Native American and World Indigenous Peoples Studies, Evergreen transcends the limits of education to reach out to people of all backgrounds and beliefs."
—Billy Frank, Jr. (Nisqually), former member of the Evergreen Board of Trustees
A Long History of Working With Native American Communities
Established in 1969, The Evergreen State College is a small, public, liberal arts college with an outstanding national reputation. Evergreen has a long history of bridge building with Native American communities in the region. Since the early 1970s, the college has developed a unique combination of Native programs, both academic and public service, that are not offered at other institutions of higher education.
The uniqueness of this comprehensive set of programs is enhanced by the fact that the programs were developed in collaboration with local tribes. Tribal partnerships are vital to Evergreen’s Native Programs and have been since the beginning. In keeping with Washington State’s Centennial Accord, Evergreen works on a government-to-government basis with tribes to jointly develop programs that respond to the needs of tribal people in the Northwest.
Mary Ellen Hillaire (Lummi) initiated the Native programs in 1972 to make Evergreen a hospitable place in higher education for cultural literacy. The college today embraces its Native student community of 4.4 percent—which is more than twice the ratio of Native students than all other public four-year colleges in Washington. An astounding 6 percent of all Evergreen graduate students are Native American (the state population of Native Americans is 2.7 percent). The college’s faculty is 7.2 percent Native (compared to 0.6 percent nationwide).
Evergreen has an unparalleled combination of academic and public service programs, designed in partnership with Northwest tribes, to make a lasting impact on education in Indian Country.
Evergreen has these Native American academic and public service programs
- "House of Welcome" Longhouse Education and Cultural Center
- First Peoples' Advising at Evergreen
- Master of Public Administration in Tribal Governance, (which began in 2002)
- Native American and World Indigenous Peoples Studies (on-campus undergraduate)
- Reservation Based Community Determined Program (undergraduate)
Together these programs enable the college to continue and expand upon its history of responding in partnership to the educational needs of indigenous peoples. In addition to these programs, students at Evergreen can work with Native American Studies faculty throughout the undergraduate curriculum (such as in the Expressive Arts). In addition to the MPA with Tribal Governance concentration, Evergreen also offers a Master in Teaching (MiT) and a Master of Environmental Studies (MES). MiT students engage with Native American topics through coursework which explores K-12 culturally relevant curriculum and pedagogy. Candidates may also have opportunities to work with Native students in local schools, and dig deeper into Native American issues within a master’s project. Opportunities for MiT students to receive support to attend Evergreen include the Hearst Endowment Award for Future Native American Teachers. MES students may choose to focus their studies on Native American topics through coursework, internships, independent learning contracts, or thesis projects. In all Evergreen programs, Native American students, community members and tribes have a dedicated place in higher education, and easy access to technology and research services.