New home planned for Yale's Native American community

In order to accommodate its burgeoning Native-American community, Yale is establishing a new site for the Native American Cultural Center (NACC).
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Theodore Van Alst (center), director of the Native American Cultural Center, and members of the center are shown in front of its current home. The new facility will be located at 26 High St.

This fall, Yale welcomed its largest-ever incoming class of Native American freshmen. Forty members of the class of 2015 identify themselves as primarily Native American, and another dozen identify themselves as Native Americans in conjunction with another group.

In order to accommodate this burgeoning community, Yale is establishing a new site for the Native American Cultural Center (NACC). The current space, located at 295 Crown St., is shared with the Asian American Cultural Center.

“As both the Native and Asian-American populations have grown, we’ve realized the need for each group to have adequate space,” said Theodore Van Alst, assistant dean of Yale College and director of the Native American Cultural Center. The new venue, slated to open fall 2012, will be located at 26 High St.

“The new site will add an exciting new dimension to the work already in progress in the Native community; it will serve as the centerpiece around which students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the broader community will be welcome to gather in fellowship and unity,” said Marichal Gentry, dean of student affairs.

“What I find most inspiring about the new site is that it will connect Native students through time, providing the setting for alumni to connect with today’s students and serving as a beacon to those who are yet to come,” noted Yale College Dean Mary Miller.

“I am delighted that the Native American student community at Yale will now have their own ‘home’ on campus,” said Provost Peter Salovey. “I appreciate the hard work of Dean Van Alst on behalf of this growing community, and I appreciate the alumni and others who have provided material support to the cultural center in recent years. We’ve come a long way.”

Established in 1993, the NACC, in cooperation with the Association of Native Americans at Yale, promotes Native American culture and explores the issues that Native Americans face in today’s world. The NACC anticipates that the creation of the center will facilitate even more robust programs at Yale to increase awareness about Native American culture.

More information about the NACC including its core values and mission can be found on its website.

In a related note: On Nov. 14, in conjunction with Native American Heritage month, the Supreme Court of the Navajo Nation, the largest American Indian nation in the United States, will convene at Yale Law School. For more information, visit the Law School website.

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