Initiative for Native Nation Relations

Launched in 2021, the goal of the Initiative for Native Nation Relations (INNR) for CSB/SJU to become renowned for its work to redress the legacy of Native American boarding schools. INNR developed after years of discussion and collaboration with Native nations about the best ways for CSB/SJU, as educational institutions founded and supported by the Order of St. Benedict (OSB) and the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict (SOSB) to work toward redressing our institutions’ connections to Native American boarding schools.

The Initiative pursues research and service activities at the request of Native nations. Current projects include:

1. Repatriation of Native American boarding school materials to affected communities.

2. Protection of wild rice beds and other sites sacred to the Ojibwe nations.

3. Examining how tribal governments served as leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic

4. Mapping and measuring how disparities in access to credit and other banking services disproportionately affect Native communities.

5. Facilitating connections between CSB/SJU and tribal schools to promote Native youth college access.

INNR is guided by the Native American Advisory Committee (NAAC). The McCarthy Center created NAAC in 2020 in order to advise the CSB/SJU community in transforming our campuses into spaces that serve Native nations and Native/Indigenous students on their own terms.

Current Members of NAAC include:

Jaime Arsenault (White Earth Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Officer)

Faith Gronda (Wyandot of Anderdon Nation, CSB ’21)

Lacey Lokken (Oglala Sioux, District 742 American Indian Program Coordinator)

Travis Zimmerman (Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, SJU ’94)

The Initiative operates in partnership with Azhen, a nonprofit organization.

INNR is Directed by Dr. Theodor Gordon (Integrations Program). If you have any ideas or questions, please reach out to him at [email protected].