Our Mission and Philosophy

Male teaching student to bead


The mission of the Native American Institute is to work with tribes, American Indian organizations and various Michigan State University units to enhance the sovereignty, cultural continuity and wellbeing of tribes, Indian communities and Indian people. We strive to build close and responsive relationships with tribal and urban Indian communities and the various resources (people, programs, organizations and the knowledge therein) across Michigan State University to provide the best services possible to tribes, Indian organizations, Indian people, policy makers and the general public.


  • OUR work emerges through culturally and community relevant processes, protocols and agendas that are defined by our American Indian and First Nations community partners. 
  • WE honor and respect the needs and desires of the community throughout the entirety of a project and are adaptive and creative in responding to issues and challenges that emerge during a project. 
  • WE work to empower our community partners by providing them with the tools, training and expertise that MSU can provide to develop their own capacities for research and programmatic development. 
  • WE believe the tribe and/or community is the authority and owner of all researsch, project and programmatic outcomes and we work to disseminate these outcomes as defined by our partnership agreements. 
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