The early ’70s were a time of transformation for Stanford’s Indigenous community. A student population that had numbered in the single digits as late as 1969 pushed the school to increase Native enrollment and to better support Indigenous students already on the Farm. The immediate results of their efforts still resound today, from the founding of the Stanford American Indian Organization in 1970 to the beginnings of Powwow in 1971 to the opening of the Native American Cultural Center (NACC) on February 23, 1974. The latter occasion was marked by dancing “that lasted until the birds took over the singing,” Evelina Zuni Lucero, ’75, later remembered. Fifty years on, the NACC is the thread that runs through all Stanford Native life, says interim director Constance Owl, ’18. “It is definitely the hub,” she says, “but more so the home of the Native community on campus,” which now surpasses 450 students. Owl and her partner, Matthew Yellowtail, ’18—resident fellows in the Native theme house Muwekma-Tah-Ruk—are working to document the NACC’s history and legacy. “I feel like it’s on our shoulders to maintain that as we go into the future,” she says.
Sam Scott is a senior writer at Stanford. Email him at email@example.com.
Vintage 1973 Collection
Stanford is 50! It turns out we’re not the only one. Walk with us down memory lane as we sample some of the wonders and horrors of the 1973–74 academic year on the Farm, and in the world around.