University of Oregon Opens American Indian Longhouse on Campus - Higher Education
Higher Education News and Jobs

University of Oregon Opens American Indian Longhouse on Campus

Email




by Black Issues

University of Oregon Opens American Indian Longhouse on Campus

EUGENE, Ore.
Nearly 20 years after it was proposed, the University of Oregon has opened an American Indian longhouse, a community center traditional to many Native American peoples in the Pacific Northwest and around the country.

The 3,000-square-foot building stands as a symbol of two generations of effort, project leaders said.

“You can’t help but be overwhelmed just to see the structure, to see all the new faces and all the old faces,” said Jason Younker, a recent anthropology doctoral graduate who was among those who helped see the longhouse project to completion.

“It’s a place where people will achieve their academic dreams but also a place where spirit and community reside,” Younker said. “There’s no way to describe what can take place here.”

The project is part of an outreach program that began under former university President Myles Brand and championed by his successor, Dave Frohnmayer.

American Indians remain the smallest ethnic minority on campus and have the lowest college attendance rate of any racial group in the country.

The opening ceremonies for the Many Nations Longhouse included remarks from tribal elders, Frohnmayer, professor Rob Proudfoot and Gordon Bettles, a university graduate and interim steward of the longhouse. More events are planned for the building’s inaugural year.

The longhouse was designed by Johnpaul Jones, a Seattle-based architect and UO graduate who helped design the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian.

It incorporates elements from traditional longhouses of the Kalapuya tribe and others, including soaring old-growth fir timbers donated by the Coquille tribe and harvested from their lands.

The wedge-shaped structure features a glass wall facing the south with entrances to the east and west. It has a large central fireplace, living sod roof and a “welcoming stone” set in the maple hardwood floor.

While the building is meant to be a gathering place for American Indian students, it’s also meant to be a bridge to other cultures, said George Wasson, a retired UO administrator.

The name — Many Nations Longhouse — not only represents its connection to the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon and the 44 whose ancestors once lived here, but also the connections American Indians have made with others.

But most of all, it will be a home for students who often struggle on a university campus far from family and tradition, Wasson said. Having a longhouse can restore a cultural connection that American Indian students miss when they leave home.

“It’s a thoughtful presence, a way of life, a way of living, a way of understanding,” he said. “It’s a world view.”

—  Associated Press



© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com

  Maryland Faces University Desegregation Fight
RELATED ARTICLES >>
Miami University Joins Diversity, Inclusion Group Miami University is the latest institution to join the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, a coalition where CEOs and presidents of corporations, businesses and nonprofits share strategies to increase inclusion and diversity in the workplace. ...
3 Rowan University Diversity Programs Awarded NSF Grants Three programs at Rowan University with goals to promote diversity and equality for underrepresented races and sexualities on and off campus recently have been awarded grants by the National Science Foundation to aid those efforts. The grants will...
Bureaucratic Costs Are Twice Instruction Expenses at Some Colleges Some small private colleges are spending almost twice as much on administration as on academics, according to a study by an association of university trustees. The study, based on financial data provided by colleges and universities themselves to ...
Program to Help Guide Hispanic Prep Students to College A new program at Montclair State University is designed to provide high school students with the opportunity to make the most of their college experience. The Hispanic Student College Institute, scheduled for August 1-3, and will help students bec...
Semantic Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *