Indigenous Engagement

NASPA's efforts to repair and re-center our work with our Indigenous Peoples community is a key part of our commitment to creating a more inclusive association and deepening capacity to serve Indigenous members and students across our programs, scholarship, and institutions. As NASPA President Kevin Kruger reflected in a November 2020 statement, the work is collaborative, intentional, and focused on repair, restoration, and growth. 

President's Implementation Committee on Indigenous Engagement and Inclusion

The President's Implementation Committee on Indigenous Engagement and Inclusion was charged with implementing recommendations from the December 2021 Indigenous Engagement Working Group report to the Board of Directors. From March 2022 through March 2024, members of the Implementation Committee participated in one of five workstreams, focused on conference and event planning, partnerships with Indigenous-focused organizations, the Power and Place Symposium, engagement with Tribal Colleges and Universities and Native American-Serving Non-Tribal Institutions, and Indigenous mentorship. The Implementation Committee's final report was submitted to the NASPA Board of Directors during its March 2024 meeting. 

Indigenous Implementation Committee Members

Power and Place Symposium

The Power and Place Symposium, launched in 2020, annually explores issues related to the participation of Indigenous higher education communities. The symposiums include keynote presentations and panels, moderated sessions, and community reflection. The theoretical orientation for each supporting element of the Symposium is simultaneously grounded by the text Power and Place: Indian Education in America, co-authored by the late Vine Deloria, Jr. (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) and current Haskell Indian Nations University faculty member Daniel Wildcat (Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma) and the NASPA Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community leadership framework.

The Symposium, a 1.5-day program, is hosted at the NASPA Conferences on Student Success in Higher Education or the NASPA Strategies Conferences and is intended for student affairs professionals, higher education scholars, allied educators, and anyone interested in questioning, reflecting, and imagining how Power and Place engender conditions for deepening Indigeneity in higher education. The 2025 Power and Place Symposium will take place January 15-16, 2025, in Boston, MA, at the NASPA Strategies Conference.

A significant Power and Place Symposium goal is to invite, center, and privilege Indigenous perspectives on student success, health, safety, and wellbeing, as well as professional and leadership development experiences in higher education. The Power and Place Symposium is designed for student affairs administrators, higher education scholars, knowledge-keepers, community members, allied educators, and anyone else interested in questioning, reflecting, and imagining how the ideas in the Power and Place text can be applied, as theory, and practice, to transform institutional practices and contexts.

Indigenous Engagement Timeline

Critical Moments in NASPA's Indigenous Engagement
  Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community founded
  Board of Directors commits to Indigenous Protocol and Practice Policy
February 2019 NASPA hosts gathering of past and current IPKC leaders
Summer 2019 Pam Agoyo appointed to the Board of Directors, the first Indigenous person to serve on the Board
November 2020

NASPA President Kevin Kruger issues statement, "Repairing and Re-centering NASPA’s Work with the Indigenous Peoples Community"

November 2020 Charlotte Davidson appointed to a special Indigenous Relations Advisor role
Winter 2021 Special issue of Leadership Exchange published titled "Power and Place: Indigenous Worldviews of Higher Education"
March 2021 Power and Place Symposium launches at 2021 NASPA Annual Conference
April 2021 NASPA charges an Indigenous Engagement Working Group
December 2021 Indigenous Engagement Working Group report and recommendations presented to Board of Directors
March 2022 Second Power and Place Symposium hosted during NASPA Annual Conference
April 2022 NASPA appoints President's Implementation Commmittee for Indigenous Engagement and Inclusion
2022 and 2023 NASPA Board of Directors discusses implementation progress during its Summer, Winter, and Spring Board Meetings
June 2023 NASPA hosts in-person Power and Place Symposium at Haskell Indian Nations University
October 2023 NASPA hosts partnership meeting during the 2023 National Indian Education Association Convention in Albuquerque, NM; representatives participate from ACPA's Indigenous Student Affairs Network, American Indian College Fund, American Indian Higher Education Consortium, NASPA Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community, National Education Association, National Institute for Native Leadership in Higher Education, and the White House Initiative on Advancing Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Native Americans and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities
February 2024 Infographic shared with all regional conference planning committees, outlining principles and recommended means of respectfully including Indigenous ways of knowing into conference planning
March 2024 Final report of Implementation Committee on Indigenous Engagement and Inclusion submitted to NASPA Board of Directors