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Puyallup Tribe grants $275,000 to UWT

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Continuing its longstanding tradition of supporting higher education, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians has made its largest grant to date to the University of Washington-Tacoma – $275,000 that will go toward enhancing Native American education and research at the University.

“The Puyallup Tribe chose to gift the UWT with a grant of funding that will cover the next three years activities of a Native professorship that supports ‘native ways of knowing,’” said Puyallup Tribal Councilmember Marguerite Edwards. “We at the Puyallup Tribe really adore UWT (whose programs and activities occur on the Puyallup Indian Reservation) embracing the Native ways of knowing. 

“To explore, and to educate students, in those ways is something the Tribe enthusiastically supports,” she continued. “We know, for example, that a change in weather is coming when the Grandmother Mountain (Mt. Rainier) is wearing her hat (a cloud that sits above the mountain top). We know we are headed into a tough winter when the fruit trees bloom twice before fall arrives. This kind of knowledge we have learned from our tribal elders, and they are Native ways of knowing things. So we are very enthusiastic and excited to know that the wisdom of our elders will be explored and shared through the funding of this new professorship at the University of Washington-Tacoma.”

The Puyallup Tribe and UWT have a vision of a transparent collaboration that values cultural heritage and traditional ways of knowledge alongside innovation and formal instruction. The grant will provide support for innovations in curriculum, research and community engagement, ensuring that the experiences of tribes and tribal peoples enrich the student learning experience. There is a growing cluster of Native American scholars on the UW Tacoma faculty, whose careers the grant will foster.

“This grant from the Puyallup Tribe will help address one of the greatest barriers faced by Native people today – the lack of information and abundance of misinformation the public has about tribes and tribal people,” said Sharon Parker, UWT’s assistant chancellor for equity and diversity. “As the work of this grant ripples out, students, faculty and staff will share in a great communal experience with roots much deeper than the 25-year history of UWT.”

UWT Interim Chancellor Dr. Kenyon Chan spoke to the importance of collaboration between the Tribe and UWT. “The heart of the collaboration between UWT and the Puyallup Tribe will be the interaction between the tribal community and the campus community,” he said. “We hope all of our students and faculty will gain a wider perspective on ways of interacting with the world and we are incredibly grateful to the Puyallup Tribe for supporting this transformational vision.”