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Exterior photograph of Muwekma-Tah-Ruk.

Muwekma-Tah-Ruk, Native Theme House

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Current and former residents of Muwekma-Tah-Ruk and employees of the Native American Cultural Center joined retiring director Winona Simms, center, for a group photo. Credit: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

Muwekma-Tah-Ruk is the Native American Theme House for Stanford University. The name comes from the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe in the area, which means, "House of the People". It is located on the Lower Row right next to Braun Music Center in what used to be Lathrop House. Muwekma has been at its current location since 1988 (the longest it has remained in one location since the Native American Theme was awarded a house).

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.

View the ResEd House Page