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Fall Course Highlights INST is an interdisciplinary program that draws from a wide range of departments and coursework. We welcome students of all ideologies and cultural...
  • Making History: Tawna Sanchez is a native voice at the capitol
  • KelipiCamas Return to/Return of Camas - Cultural Restoration of Camas as First Foods...
Welcome to the Indigenous Nations Studies (INST) website!

A message from our Director:

Spring Term 2017 Welcoming,

Welcome to another beautiful spring season here at Portland State University. The 2017 Spring Term brings seasonal excitement and exceptional learning opportunities to PSU students as well as to the citizens of Portland and beyond.

I would like to acknowledge the people whose land we are standing on today, the Multnomah and Clackamas Peoples. It is important to acknowledge the ancestors of this place and to recognize that we are here because of the sacrifices they were forced to make. In remembering the Multnomah and Clackamas communities we honor their memory, their lives, and their descendants. We also remember that we are guests of this land and must do our best to never forget its original inhabitants.

Given the historical realities and the ongoing social, economic, and political consequences of a colonial legacy, our culturally responsive program in Indigenous Nations Studies is dedicated to the protection and strengthening of Native/Indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, and unalienable human rights. Our faculty is dedicated to the educational, cultural and sovereign advancement of the communities we serve and represent. I am proud to be among a group of faculty that sees teaching, research, and service as a "sacred" responsibility to all students, and particularly to the tribal nations in the state of Oregon.

As the Director, I advocate on behalf of our faculty to ensure that we play an active role guiding the intellectual, ethical, and social development of our students so that they will acquire a comprehensive and practice-based understanding of U.S. Indian law and policy, self-determination sustainability, warrior leadership (that understands the concepts of colonization/decolonization), and sovereign Nationhood.

INST is made up of an unparalleled community of faculty, students, staff, alumni, and partners. We are known for our academic rigor, extraordinary diversity, collaborative spirit, and for developing real-world decolonized solutions to some of today’s most dynamic and pressing challenges.

Some of our current faculty projects include Judy Bluehorse Skelton’s recent grant awards that provide students with stipend internships in creating urban gardens, Native youth suicide prevention, and reclamation of Indigenous lands through ethnobotany; Cornel Pewewardy’s advocacy for SB-13: Measure directing Oregon Department of Education to develop a curriculum for students in kindergarten-12th grade relating to Native American experience in Oregon; and Grace Dillon’s national student competition on Indigenous Futurisms. These projects, coupled with the work happening at our campus through the United Indigenous Students in Higher Education (UISHE) provide our students with a learning environment at the intersection of theory and practice that prepares them to become the next generation of leaders in education and government.

I invite you to visit our campus or contact us by phone or email to explore the numerous opportunities that our program provides. We hope to have more opportunities to keep you apprised of our work, and really wish to hear about the great things you are doing.  Stay in touch!

If you want to learn more about our programs, please contact Josh Powell, INST Administrative Assistant at; (503) 725-5920.  I may be reached at (503) 725-9689;  


Cornel Pewewardy (Comanche/Kiowa)
Professor & Director

Indigenous Nations Studies