Office of Native American Advancement & Tribal Engagement (NAATE)


Launched in September 2020, the office of Native American Advancement & Tribal Engagement’s (NAATE) goal is to increase Native American awareness and increase the health and well being of Native American students, faculty, staff and tribal nations.  We recognize and acknowledge the contributions of Native Nations to the University of Arizona community and aim to create a physical space for the Center of Native American Advancement and Tribal Engagement and establish the School of Indigenous Governance and Nation Building.  These initiatives will establish new processes and lead the university to becoming the leading institution serving Native Americans.


Message from the Senior Vice President for NAATE

 

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Nathan Levi Esquerra, Senior Vice President for Native American Advancement & Tribal Engagement
 

Hello Wildcat Country! 

I welcome you to the University of Arizona and am grateful to serve you in my capacity as the first Senior Vice President for Native American Advancement and Tribal Engagement.  It does not get any better than that!  I have a tremendous opportunity in front of me and look forward to continuing to serve the various Native Nations, Students, Faculty, and Staff in our advancement and engagement.  Recently, we have started a new initiative of inviting Tribal Leaders to engage with Senior Leadership.  This is just one of many steps that enable our story to be told and better yet understood.  Our goal is to have the University of Arizona be the leading institution serving Native Americans. 

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Executive Office of the President

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Ak-Chin Indian Community Chairman Robert Miguel and his family join President Robbins at the 2021 annual spring football game.

Message from the President

 

 

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Dr. Robert C. Robbins, President of the University of Arizona

Welcome to the University of Arizona! We are proud of our longstanding partnerships with Native Nations throughout Arizona, and we established the Office of Native American Advancement and Tribal Engagement (NAATE) as a central point of collaboration to improve and sustain service to tribal communities and Native students, faculty, staff, and graduates.

Arizona is home to 22 federally-recognized tribes, and Tucson, where our main campus is located, is home to the O’odham and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. In this context, fulfilling our land-grant mission of service requires that we strive toward building relationships with Arizona’s Native Nations and tribal communities through education offerings, partnerships, and community service. We are committed to partnerships based in respect for the sovereignty of the tribes, and, through NAATE, we will establish a proactive, innovative, and transformational approach to all relationships with Native students, faculty, graduates, as well as their communities and families in Arizona and beyond.

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Initiatives

Goals:

  1. To continue to have tribal leaders attend Senior Leadership Team Meetings
  2. To have President Robbins and/or members of his Senior Leadership Team engage with tribes on their homelands to collaborate on tribal goals and objectives

Completed Initiatives:

  • Senior Leadership participated in Native Know-How Training that increased their knowledge and awareness of the 22 sovereign tribal nations in Arizona.

“Beyond providing valuable historical knowledge and contemporary guidance, the Native Know-How Workshop's exceptional facilitators offered firsthand perspectives about collaboration with    tribal governments and community engagement that were particularly insightful.” – Craig Henderson, Vice President, Executive Office of the President

“This is not your typical, check-the-box training—I took away specific practices that I will use immediately to show tribal communities that I respect them and honor their land, values, and traditions. The presenters did not just deliver content, they spoke with openness, and answered our questions with graciousness and tremendous insight.  There was no wrong question.” – Ilya Smith, Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Privacy Officer

  • Senior Leadership have welcomed and engaged with tribal leaders at monthly meetings.

“As a guest on this land, it has been such a gift to hear from tribal leaders during our senior leadership team meetings…to be guided by their words, wisdom, and community priorities.”- Marla Franco, Assistant Vice Provost, Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) Initiatives

  • President Robbins met Chairman Miguel of the Ak-Chin Indian Community, as well tribal leaders and their Native University of Arizona students: Chairwoman Pencille of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, Chairwoman Flores of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, President Burnette of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, and Chairman Nuvangyaoma of the Hopi Tribe.

Goal:

  1. To convene an Annual Arizona Tribal Leaders Summit during academic year 2021-22

Completed Initiatives:

  • In November 2020, the University of Arizona hosted the Native Nations Flag Ceremony, where all 22 flags are permanently displayed in the Bookstore. Chairman Norris of the Tohono O’odham Nation and Chairman Yucapio of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe attended in person. After the event, both Chairmen met with President Robbins.
  • The University in partnership with The Tohono O’odham Nation and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe established a Land Acknowledge Statement.

Land Acknowledgement:

We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples. Today, Arizona is home to 22 federally-recognized tribes, with Tucson being home to the O’odham and the Yaqui. Committed to diversity and inclusion, the University strives to build sustainable relationships with sovereign Native Nations and Indigenous communities through education offerings, partnerships, and community service.

Goal:

  1. To create a physical space for the Center for Native American Advancement & Tribal Engagement (Center) and establish a School of Indigenous Governance and Nation Building (School). The Center will be a cultural center for University of Arizona Native American students, faculty, staff, the wider University community, and Arizona’s tribal communities. The initiative will support the construction and/or renovation of a Native-designed physical space by launching a capital campaign for the Center for Native American Advancement Building Fund and School of Indigenous Governance Endowment Fund.

Completed Initiatives:

  • Regents Professor Robert Williams, Faculty Co-Chair, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program was instrumental in procuring a million dollars for the School of Indigenous Governance and UArizona has received another million dollar commitment with the establishment of the school. Space is limited on main campus, but NAATE continues to look for the opportunity to establish the Center and the School.

“The vision behind the creation of a first-of-its-kind School of Indigenous Governance and Development at the University of Arizona is to serve the nation-building aspirations and professional development needs of indigenous communities here in the United States and around the world. There’s a huge demand by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders, practitioners, and students for first-class, advanced academic training and the University of Arizona has the faculty, expertise, research capacity, and already existing academic programs of recognized excellence in this field to comprehensively respond to this challenge on a global scale.” 

Robert A. Williams, Jr., Regents Professor and Faculty Co-Chair

Goal:

  1. To support tribes in our fight against COVID-19

Completed Initiatives:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us. During May 2021, the Office of Native American Advancement and Tribal Engagement delivered personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Colorado River Indian Tribes, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Throughout the pandemic, the University of Arizona has provided PPE to the following tribal communities:

          ⇒Colorado River Indian Tribes

          ⇒Fort Mojave Indian Tribe

          ⇒ Hopi Tribe

          ⇒ Navajo Nation

          ⇒ Pascua Yaqui Tribe

          ⇒ San Carlos Apache Tribe

          ⇒ Tohono O’odham Nation

          ⇒ White Mountain Apache Tribe

          ⇒ Yavapai-Apache Nation

  • Tohono O'odham Nation contributed $1 million to the University of Arizona to support COVID-19 testing, research, and vaccination.

Nathan Levi Esquerra

Senior Vice President for Native American Advancement & Tribal Engagement

Tribal Affiliation: Chemehuevi Indian Tribe of California

520-621-3165

levie@arizona.edu

Jacquelyn Valenzuela

Executive Associate to N. Levi Esquerra, Senior Vice President, Native American Advancement & Tribal Engagement

520-621-6788

javalenzuela@email.arizona.edu