by Ken Lokensgard, Assistant Director, Center for Native American Research & Collaborations


A primary focus of the Center for Native American Research & Collaboration (CNRC) during the 2019/2020 School year is the revitalization of the Affiliates and Associates Program. Affiliate members of this program include WSU faculty, administrative professionals, and staff, as well as members of various tribes. Associate members are scholars at other academic institutions.  Together, the Affiliates and Associates will focus their expertise, experience, and engagement on topics related to collaborative research, teaching, and outreach involving Native American communities.

An earlier affiliates program was initiated by Barbara Aston, during her time as Director of Native American Programs. She had expected to expand and refocus the program, which has led to its current incarnation. This new Affiliates & Associates Program first met in the spring of 2019.

On Oct. 27, members will meet again at the Nez Perce National Historical Park Visitor Center. In this meeting, held in partnership with Nez Perce Tribe members, Affiliates and Associates will focus on the values that inform collaborative Indigenous research. Nez Perce Tribe Cultural Resources representative Josiah Pinkham will also describe the Nez Perce Tribe’s research approval process and how it addresses those values. In future meetings, we will partner with other tribes to have similar discussions and to learn about their own research approval processes.

Besides the community meeting described above, Affiliates and Associates will meet each semester on one of the WSU campuses. For more information, please contact CNRC Assistant Director Dr. Ken Lokensgard. You can also read about the various types of membership at our website. Of course, the CNRC continues to serve any faculty researchers developing projects related to Native students and communities, regardless of whether those faculty members are CNRC Affiliates or not.

Other research related activities include a closer relationship with the Office of Research Assurances. The CNRC is now represented on the Social and Behavioral Internal Review Board for human subjects research, while the Native American Health Sciences program is represented on the Biomedical Review Board. This helps ensure that any research conducted by WSU employees involving Native American individuals receives proper scrutiny. Meanwhile IRB staff have shown great commitment to making their policies as clear and ethical as possible when it comes to Native American research; they also recognize the need for researchers to gain separate tribal approvals for any work involving tribes.

The CNRC continues to support work beyond its core research mission as well, including development of the Native American Pre-Health Program and Graduate/Professional Student Support. The Pre-Health program welcomes its second cohort this fall, which includes students from the Colville Confederated Tribes and the Yakima Tribe. These students meet together weekly in study sessions and also meet in biweekly sessions that focus upon topics relevant to their studies.

Second year members of the program are given the opportunity to attend a professional conference. This year, with support from WSU’s Graduate School and the PNW-COSMOS Alliance for Native American Education and the Professoriate (funded by NSF AGEP-T grant # 1432932), second year students will attend the annual American Indian Science and Engineering Society National Conference in Milwaukee, WI. There, they will have the opportunity to attend a wide variety of program pertaining to health sciences and professions in Native America. Meanwhile, Native American graduate and professional students continue their work in fields ranging from Communications, to English, to Education, to Veterinary Medicine. Look toward the next newsletter for profiles of some of these amazing students.