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History Timelines

Native American History at Stanford

Other History Timelines:

Founding of SAIO | Stanford Mascot | Stanford Powwow | NACC-AIANNHP Center |  Native Theme House |

1850s 

  • Bounty hunting of Indians is common in the early days of California statehood and cash rewards are paid for each scalp, head or body of Indian man, woman or child.  This practice is not "outlawed" for more than 70 years when Indians are granted US Citizenship and it becomes illegal to kill them. 

1894 

  • Two Native Americans are admitted to Stanford as freshmen (George Hughes and John Milton Oskison).

1898 

  • John Milton Oskison, Cherokee from Vinita, Indian Territory (before Oklahoma attained statehood), is the first Native American to graduate from Stanford.

1920s

  • The California Indian Council (a group of tribal leaders) meets at Stanford.

1924

  • Indian Citizenship Act making them US citizens and giving them the right to vote.

1930s

  • Many California tribes terminated by the state and federal governments.  Once dissolved, the tribes have no right to receive services or to own land.
  • Stanford University's football coach, Pop Warner, is the first to use the Indian as a mascot for Stanford's athletic teams.

1950s

  • Construction boom in the post-World War II years results in the destruction of Ohlone/Costanoan sites in East Palo Alto, Mountain View, and the East Bay.  The construction frenzy hits Stanford 10 years (caused by an influx of research funding) and more  sites are unearthed.

1965

  • Only 1 Native American student is known to be enrolled at Stanford.

1968

  • 4 Native Americans are counted among the enrolled students at Stanford.

1969 

  • Alcatraz Occupation, November 20, 1969  (This protest for Native American rights, begun by San Francisco State University students, will last 19 months.)
  • A benefit concert for Alcatraz Occupation held at Stanford's Memorial Church.

1970 

  • 25 more Native American students enroll at Stanford.
  • Stanford American Indian Organization forms on October 21, 1970.
  • On November 22, 1970, SAIO members petition for removal of Stanford's Indian mascot—both the logo (as a "false image of the American Indian") and the man, Timm Williams (whose live performances at sporting events were a"mockery of Indian religious practices.")
  • Students prepare a needs assessment for Stanford Administration.  Addressing the needs of isolation and culture shock of Native Americans at Stanford, the document advocates for a community center, theme residence, Native American Studies, retention services, and  increased recruitment of students, staff, and faculty. 
  • Stanford conducts its own Native American needs assessment.  The new report's author, John Black, finds the Native American students to be more "needy" than the first report had estimated.

1971

  • External funding is received for Native American programming, staffing, and facilities from Educational Foundation of America.
  • "Tecumseh House" on Alvarado Row is SAIO's first headquarters. 
  • Externally funded student interns, "Tecumseh Fellows" hired as peer counselors, program planners, financial aid and career advisors, newsletter writers, etc.
  • First graduate student intern (Chris McNeil) hired as recruiter for Native American undergraduate students.
  • First Assistant Dean of Students (Gwen Shunatona) hired—with University funds—as advocate for Native American undergraduate students.
  • Native American students start community newsletter, Smoke Signals
  • Native American Theme at Loro-Mirlo complex in Florence Moore Hall for 1971-72.
  • SAIO hosts First Stanford Powwow to offset the negative image of the Indian mascot  and to bring a diverse Native American presence to the campus.

1972

  • Native American Theme moves to Soto in Wilbur 1972-74 (includes frosh and transfers). 
  • Undergraduate Larry Rodgers paints "Soto Bird" mural at Soto.  Rodgers also paints murals at SAIO headquarters—first in the Firetruck House and, a few years later, in the Clubhouse.
  • Formal removal of Indian mascot by Stanford President, Trustees, and ASSU.
  • Firetruck house is the site of SAIO's second headquarters after Tecumseh House is demolished to make way for the Law School.

1974

  • Native American Cultural Center opens at Clubhouse.  Larry Rodgers paints mural over the fireplace that later becomes SAIO's logo.
  • Theme moves to Gavilan in Florence Moore as "Concentration" house in 1974-75.

1975

  • First graduate student intern (Hartman  Lomawaima) hired as advocate for Native American graduate students.

1976

  • Second Assistant Dean of Students, (Larry Gorospe) is hired as advocate for Native American undergraduate students.  After Gorospe leaves Stanford, the advocacy of Native Students is provided through a series of interim graduate student appointments including Patricia Fresh, Wayne Johnson, and Frank Redner.
  • Native American Theme moves to Roble basement as a "Priority" house.  Only a handful of Native students live there in what became known as "The Penthouse", 1976-86.
  • The Native American Cultural Center is renovated through a grant from the Sears Foundation.  A 10 piece modular couch, a conference table, and "woven-wood window shades" are purchased to spruce up the place.
  • A shade canopy system using 9 World War II surplus parachutes is designed for the Stanford Powwow by Alan Strain, a long-time friend of the Native American community.  The parachute canopy continues to be used until the mid 1980s. 

1977

  • SAIO works together with students from UC Berkeley, community members from San Jose Indian Center, and others to produce the Stanford Powwow as a Bay Area wide effort.

1978

  • American Indian Movement co-founder, Dennis Banks teaches a SWOPSI (Stanford Workshop on Social and Political Issues) course on American Indian Activism.

1980 

  • SAIO celebrates its 10th Anniversary!
  • SAIO sponsors class—"Federal Indian Law: A  Survey and Analysis" taught by attorney and  activist Dick Trudell and Professor Robert North.

1981 

  • George Clever hired as Assistant Dean of Students —50% Native American Advisor and 50% Counseling Dean (a forerunner to future Residence Dean positions).
  • Seven new Native American undergraduates enroll at Stanford.  In lieu of a Native American recruiter  within Undergraduate Admissions, the Assistant Dean of Students is invited to read applicant files and make recommendations. 
  • Anne Medicine is hired as the First Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies to recruit and advocate for Native American graduate students.
  • KZSU airs a half-hour Native American radio show, "Stanford on the Rez", with undergrad William Thompson, 1981-82.
  • Stanford hosts a American Indian Educators Conference.  Delegates express concern for the insensitivity of Stanford faculty and staff to American Indian history, interests and experience.
  • A Native American Cultural Week, sponsored by Anne Medicine and Graduate Studies is held during the week preceding the Stanford Powwow.
  • "Stanford at Zuni" becomes an off campus academic option (similar to Overseas Studies programs).

1983 

  • Undergraduate Tony Kahn creates a mural for the Native American Cultural center using a traditional Navajo style of painting.

1984

  • 68 Native Americans are counted among the students at Stanford.

1985

  • Jim Larimore hired as Assistant Dean/Director of the American Indian Program.   (Responsibilities expand further to 150% effort—50% Native American Advisor, 50% Residence Dean, and 50% oversight of Native American Cultural Center.)
  • A Lakota language class is taught by Calvin Fast Wolf at the Native American Cultural Center.

1986

  • The Native American Cultural Center is  refurnished with new carpet, a new 10 piece modular couch, and new conference chairs.
  • Past Stanford Powwow posters are collected and framed—as are photographs of many Native American students and alumni— to give the NACC a sense of history and family!
  • SAIO receives annual funding from the ASSU.
  • Native American Theme moved to Robinson House in Governor’s Corner, 1986-87.
  • Native American student and community organizations begin to form under the SAIO  umbrella.  In response to the great diversity within the community, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) chapter continues to be active.  And, beginning in the late 1980s and continuing through the mid 1990s, 15-20 more Native American student groups  would register with the University including Stanford Native American Graduate Students (SNAGS), Stanford American Indian Medical Students (SAIMS), Native American Law Student Association (NALSA), the Stanford Powwow Committee, Diné (Navajo), Anishinabe (Chippewa), Native American Christian Fellowship, Organization of North American Indian College Students, men's and women's groups, etc. 

1987

  • SAIO unites with the BSU, MEChA and AASA to form the Rainbow Coalition.  The Coalition, advocating for the needs of students of color at Stanford, presents a list of demands to the University.  Included in the demands are increased recruitment of students and faculty,  improved curriculum and ethnic studies, a permanent ban of grapes—and a renewed commitment to discourage Indian mascot fanatics.
  • The University Committee on Minority Issues is the result of the Rainbow Coalition's push for an study of the quality of life for students of color at Stanford.  UCMI consists of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and non-Stanford representatives will meet for 18 months. 

1988

  • American Indian Program staff (Jim Larimore,  Denni Woodward, and Connie Byrd) share office space with the Asian American Activities Center  staff (Julian Low and Elsa Tsutsaoka) upstairs in the Clubhouse #13.
  • The American Indian Summer Immersion Program, a transition program for admitted Native American Stanford frosh, is funded by the Irvine Foundation.
  • The Native American Theme moves to Lathrop House on the Row (including frosh and Resident  Fellows) in 1988.  Through collaboration with the indigenous Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, Lathrop House is renamed "Muwekma-Tah-Ruk" or the "House of the People".
  • As the Native American Theme House, Muwekma House Seminars begin to bring films, artists, poets, authors, etc. to Stanford.
  • The American Indian Staff Forum is created to  create a collective voice for the Native staff and faculty of Stanford University, Hospital, and the Linear Accelerator Center.

1989

  • Native American students start community newsletter, ComingVoice
  • Native Hawaiian students advocate to be included in the Native American ethnic category.
  • Following the UCMI Interim Report, the Ethnic Center Directors' positions are increased from 50% to full time.
  • Mabel Pike, Tlingit artist, storyteller, and elder, makes her first annual visit to Stanford as a  Visiting Artist in Residence.  She returns to Stanford annually for many years thereafter.
  •  The Final UCMI Report confirms that the quality of minority of life at Stanford sucks and makes a number of recommendations for improving recruitment and retention of students, curriculum, Ethnic Center programming, etc.  Unfortunately, the UCMI final report on staff announces that that Native American staff are "statistically insignificant."  In response to widespread outrage, UCMI's Staff Report is apologetically withdrawn and then reissued including Native American statistics. 
  • The Final UCMI Report is released late in Spring Quarter directly to the Faculty Senate.  Students, having waited for 18 months for the final report they initiated, object vehemently to being excluded from the review process.   The University President's Office is occupied by students shortly thereafter and many were arrested.
  • There were no Native American students among those arrested.  Neither were there any Native American student occupiers because the protest took place early on the Monday morning following the Powwow.   However, the ropes used to tie the office doors shut were dropped off to the protesters by the Powwow Committee shortly after dawn that Monday.  The ropes are still among the evidence being held by the Santa Clara County District Attorney.

1990

  • SAIO celebrates its 20th Anniversary!
  • Stanford University repatriates the remains of  550 human beings from its anthropological collections to their Ohlone/Costanoan descendants for reburial.
  • The Federal Native American Graves Protection Act is on passed on November 16, 1990.

1991

  • San Jose State University returns to Stanford the collection of human remains that it had borrowed.  Stanford then repatriates these, the last of the ancestral remains, to their Ohlone/Costanoan descendants for reburial.

1992

  • The first Native American recruiter (Nicole Burrell) is hired by Undergraduate Admissions following a series of hardworking non-Native recruiters, including Chris Poncé, Vince Cuseo and Keith Light.
  • The first Native American studies professor (Robert Warrior) is hired.  In addition to teaching courses within the English Department, Professor Warrior is required to teach Native American studies classes.

1993

  • The American Indian and Alaska Native Program (AIANP) staff including staff (Jim Larimore, Denni Woodward, and Beverly Corriere moves (out of the space shared with the Asian American Activities Center) downstairs to space adjoining the Native American Cultural Center after the long time occupants Volunteers In Asia program moves to the Haas Center for Public Service.
  • The Native American Resource Center opens and is furnished through a monetary gift from Gordon Russell.  The Resource Center houses study room facilities, meeting space, and an extensive library  of Native American books, tapes, and videos.
  • "In the Spirit of Giving: A Gathering of Cultures", a special fundraising event for the AIANP emergency student fund, is held at the Stanford Shopping Center and features Native performers,  authors, storytellers, and a silent auction of art  works. 
  • The Stanford American Alumni Association (SAIAA) organized and chartered with the Stanford Alumni Association.
  • In the spirit of downsizing and budget cutting,  the Stanford administration suggests that the American Indian and Alaska Native program be merged with the Asian American Activities Center—thereby eliminating the need for, and the cost of, separate directors.  Students of color unite and host a public forum to demonstrate the continuing need (dating from the 1970s) for specialized services for their distinct communities.

1994

  • The Native American Law Student Association sponsors a national Native American Water Rights Conference.
  • Following the forum presented by the students of color, and an extensive report prepared by the four ethnic community centers, the University President and Provost allocate funding ($25,000 each for a fixed term of two years) for academic, cultural programming, and graduate student programming.
  • The first American Indian Research Forum is co-sponsored by the AIANP and the Stanford Native  American Graduate Students.  The Forum provides an opportunity for both undergrads and grads from Stanford and other colleges and universities to discuss new currents in Native American scholarship across disciplines.
  • The John Milton Oskison Writing Competition  (named for the first Native American Stanford graduate) begins and offers prizes to 2 undergrads and 2 grads.
  • The Stanford Powwow gets rained on. 
  • Benny Shendo, Jr. hired as Assistant Dean and Director of the American Indian and Alaska Native Program.

1995

  • SAIO celebrates its 25th Anniversary!
  • A special Stanford Art Gallery exhibit, "Our Art, Our Voices: Native American Cultural Perspectives" is curated by Denni Woodward to celebrate SAIO's Silver Anniversary.  The exhibit presents Native culture through from the viewpoints of 12 Native American Stanford alumni.
  • Stanford Trustee Charles Ogletree, inspires an Alumni Hall of Fame for the four ethnic community centers to draw attention to the many accomplishments of our Native American, African American, Asian American, and Chicano/Latino alumni. Inductions are made each ear during Alumni Homecoming .  John Milton Oskison is the first Native American to be inducted. 
  • The Stanford Museum of Art deaccessions 15 California Indian baskets to the Stanford Native American community.  A "treaty" is signed by the Museum, the AIANNHP, and Residential Education  before the baskets go to Muwekma-Tah-Ruk.
  • The John Milton Oskison Writing Competition is established as a tribute to the first Native American graduate of Stanford University.  (Oskison served as president of the Stanford Literary Society then later worked as an editor at Collier's  magazine in New York, was a member of the Society of American Indians and wrote on American Indian issues.)  Four Native American Stanford students are selected each year for outstanding on research topics that vary across academic disciplines though papers but contain emphasis on an issue or subject impacting the Native American Community. 
  • The Stanford Powwow gets rained on—again! 
  • Native Hawaiians are included into the American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Program (AIANNHP).

1996

  • The Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity is formed.  Native American Studies, although nearly overlooked, will be included in the course offerings in Spring.
  • Woesha Cloud North is inducted into the Native American Cultural Center’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
  • The first edition of Rising Spirit: A journal of expression from the Stanford Native American Community is published.
  • The Native American Law Student Association hosts the American Indian Gaming Conference.
  • The Stanford Bookstore agrees to remove offensive merchandise from shelves.  Native American students and alumni had been quick to speak out against shirts with an "Indian motif" as being reminiscent of the Stanford Indian mascot  banned in 1972.

1997

  • Finally, after 27 years, Native American Studies comes to Stanford University!  Native faculty now  number 3—Teresa LaFromboise, Matthew Snipp, and Robert Warrior.
  • Winona Simms hired as Assistant Dean and Director of the American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Program.
  • Margo Kerrigan is inducted into the Native American Cultural Center’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
  • A wannabe Stanford Tree proposes, as part of his campaign to get elected as the Stanford mascot, proposes to live in White Plaza, first as the  former Indian mascot ant then transform and emerge as the Stanford Tree.  SAIO (and friends) talk him out of it.
  • AIANNHP takes interim responsibility  for Native American graduate recruitment  following Anne Medicine's retirement.
  • The American Indian Staff Forum launches the quarterly Pam Hanitchak Lecture Series (named for AISF's founder).
  • SAIO hosts a huge Native American Awareness Week with speakers, artists, medical professionals, films, food, and a field trip. 
  • Powwow moves to the Eucalyptus Grove across from Frost Ampitheater.

1998

  • John Gonzales is inducted into the Native American Cultural Center’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
  • Muwekma-Tah-Ruk celebrates its 10th Anniversary.  House residents presented the Muwekma Tribe with a commemorative plaque on the occasion of the blessing of the House.
  • The Native American Cultural Center (and AIANNHP) floods during winter rains.  As a result, the NACC and Program office get recarpeted.
  • Muwekma-Tah-Ruk hosta"Hawaiian Seminar:  Traditions, Culture, and History" culminating in an Alternative Spring Break to Oahu, Hawai'i.  Another ASB went to Jemez, New Mexico.
  • Residential Education announces a plan to move the Native American theme from Muwekma-Tah-Ruk (formerly Lathrop House) to Yost at Governor's Corner.  Although coinciding with the  University's move to rehouse sororities on campus, the alleged reasons sited for relocating the Native American theme were the high cost of making the house accessible, historical architectural integrity, and our community "outgrowing" Muwekma.
  • SAIO mobilized quickly and united with alumni, staff, friends, the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, and the other students of color to defend the House.  The sensibly remodeled Muwekma-Tah-Ruk remains in its location at 524 Lasuen Mall.
  • Jarrid Whitney is hired by Undergraduate Admissions as the new recruiter for Native American undergraduate students
  • The Stanford Golf Club produces 300 shirts for sale—embroidered with the American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Program logo. Used without permission—and once again, reminiscent of the Stanford Indian mascot  banned in 1972.  The Golf Club removes the merchandise from the shelves.
  • The Stanford Daily prints a story about a  Woodside High School senior "running for Stanford admission."  Part of the high school student's campaign is to "set up a 30-foot tipi in front of the (Stanford) stadium entrance..."  The Stanford Indian mascot was removed in 1972, yet the struggle goes on.

1999

  • Sandra Begay-Campbell is inducted into the Native American Cultural Center’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

2000

  • Greg Graves is hired as the Native American Graduate Recruitment and Retention Coordinator.
  • The Native American Cultural Center  and other campus community centers are become official the sites of official "computer clusters" as part of Residential Computing.  The NACC gets eight I-Mac computers and ergonomically correct  tables and chairs!
  • The Native Cultural Center lounge is refurnished through a generous gift from Georgia and Henry Greenberg. 
  • SAIO celebrates its 30th Anniversary!
  • Debora Norris  is inducted into the Native American Cultural Center’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
  • The annual Big-Game-Week production of "Gaieties" includes a skit allegedly designed to portray an average day on campus with a cross section of student groups providing information from tables on White Plaza.  Native American students took offense at the contrived portrayal of  the Village People…including an "Indian" recruiting volunteers for Powwow.  SAIO membership maintained that the appearance of the disco group Village People was not the punchline…but the opportunity to  conjure up a mascot-like image of an "Indian" was.  Ram’s Head Theatrical Society appologized, released their producer, and removed the Village People skit for the remainder of the performances.

2001

  • Michael Wilcox is hired by the Cultural and Social Anthropology department, bringing the total number of Native American faculty at Stanford back up to three following Robert Warrior’s departure in 1999.
  • Richard W. West  is inducted into the Native American Cultural Center’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

2002

  • Richard W. West becomes the first Native American member of Stanford's Board of Trustees.
  • The largest incoming class of Native American undergraduates ever is admitted to Stanford—46 freshmen and 2 transfers!
  • Charman Akina  is inducted into the Native American Cultural Center’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
  • The Stanford Powwow plants "Creeping Wild Rye" on the arena, thanks to help from Native plant experts Zentner and Zentner and a lot of help from their University friends!

2003

  • The 32nd Annual Stanford Powwow moves across the street temporarily to allow the grass plants to get established.
  • The second largest incoming class of Native American undergraduates ever is admitted to Stanford—45 freshmen and 2 transfers! 
  • Edna Ahgeak MacLean  is inducted into the Native American Cultural Center’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

2004

  • The 33rd Annual Stanford Powwow moves back Eucalyptus Grove with its arena now furnished with "Creeping Wild Rye" grass.
  • Robert H. (Piestewa) Ames  is inducted into the Native American Cultural Center’s Alumni Hall of Fame.