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Founding of SAIO

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


  • John Milton Oskison is the first Native American to graduate from Stanford.


  • Although a few Native Americans attended Stanford during the first have of the century, only 1 student is known to be enrolled at Stanford in 1965.  


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


  • 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 is held at Stanford's Memorial Church.


  • 25 more Native American students enroll at Stanford.
  • Stanford American Indian Organization forms on October 21, 1970.
  • 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.


  • 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.  As a hub of activity for indigenous population on campus, this student space will pave the way for one of the ethnic community centers of the future—the Native American Cultural Center at Stanford.  
  • Externally funded student interns, “Tecumseh Fellows” hired as peer counselors, program planners, financial aid and career advisors, newsletter writers, etc.
  • 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.


  • Firetruck house is the site of SAIO's second headquarters after Tecumseh House is demolished to make way for the Law School.


  • Native American Cultural Center opens at Clubhouse as SAIO’s headquarters and the site of frequent educational programming.  Larry Rodgers paints mural over the fireplace that later becomes SAIO's logo.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • KZSU airs a half-hour Native American radio show, “Stanford on the Rez”, with undergrad William Thompson, 1981-82.


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


  • SAIO receives annual funding from the ASSU.  The student body approves SAIO for a “Special Fee” a few years later, providing a substantial increase in funding for Native American awareness programming, etc.
  • 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.


  • 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 (UCMI) is the result of the Rainbow Coalition's push for a 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


  • Native American students start community newsletter, ComingVoice in the style of the earlier publication of Humming Arrows.
  • Native Hawaiian students advocate for inclusion in the Native American ethnic category to increase recruitment, provide support services, etc.
  • The Final UCMI Report confirms that the quality of minority of life at Stanford is lacking 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. 


  • SAIO celebrates its 20th Anniversary!


  • “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.


  • The Native American Law Student Association sponsors a national Native American Water Rights Conference.


  • A special Stanford Art Gallery exhibit, “Our Art, Our Voices: Native American Cultural Perspectives” is curated 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 year during Alumni Homecoming.  The Native American Cultural Center will induct John Milton Oskison, Woesha Cloud North, Margo D. Kerrigan, John Gonzales, Debora Norris and Sandra Begay-Campbell in the next from 1995-2000.


  • The first edition of Rising Spirit: A journal of expression from the Stanford Native American Community is published.


  • SAIO hosts a huge Native American Awareness Week with speakers, artists, medical professionals, films, food, and a field trip.


  • SAIO continues the tradition of coalitioning with MEChA, the Chicano student and co-sponsors Indigenous People’s Day activities.  Held on what some celebrate as Columbus Day, indigenous people at Stanford gather to discuss issues of importance to our populations, to share a meal and to participate in a candlelight vigil.
  • SAIO celebrates its 30th Anniversary!