Muwekma-Tah-Ruk, Native Theme House
Muwekma-Tah-Ruk, established in 1988, is the Native ethnic theme house at Stanford. Muwekma-Tah-Ruk celebrates the diversity of Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas and Pacific Islands. The name means “House of the People” in the language of the Muwekma Ohlone, the people whose ancestral lands Stanford University now occupies. Muwekma is the only four-class house on the Row, and one of the only Row houses that is home to Resident Fellows. Muwekma is a small, close-knit, and welcoming community.
The house has a history, starting in 1971 when the Loro-Mirlo complex in Florence Moore Hall was designated with the Native American Theme. From there the House moved to Soto in Wilbur Hall from 1972-1974. But with the low numbers of Native Americans in these dorms and the dominance in dorm funding for Native-themed events, the University moved the Native Theme to Gavilan in 1974-75 as a "Concentration" house. Many of the students didn't even realize this until two quarters later. Then in 1976 the Native American Theme moved to the Roble basement, which the students had come to know as "The Penthouse." There the Theme stayed for 12 years, while the Native students were constantly a minority in their own theme dorm. This didn't even improve as the Theme was moved to Robinson in Governor's Corner in 1986-87. During this time the number of Native students in the dorm was merely three students in the whole dorm.
It was during this period of movement and lack of stability that drove the students to create a Theme House in which the students would be able to have a stable location where they wouldn't be moved around anymore, and be able to make the administrative decisions to bring Cultural Themed events to campus using house funds and space. So the students of the Stanford American Indian Organizaion (SAIO) got together and drafted a proposal to the Office of Residential Education (ResEd) for the establishment of what is now Muwekma-Tah-Ruk.
But the story does not end there. In 1998, ResEd announces plans to move the Native House from it's current location on the Row to Yost House, over in Governor's Corner. The Native Community, the House, and the AIANNHP Program Office, along with many sympathetic people, including alumni, staff, friends, the Muwekma-Ohlone Tribe, and other students of color, banned together to petition for the house to remain where in its current location. Thanks to these active peoples and their efforts, Muwekma-Tah-Ruk stands proud in it's centralized location with a smaller, more "home-like" feel to it.