Learning Space: Native American Club House
I elected to observe the Native American Cultural Center (NACC) during lunch time. The NACC is located in the Old Union across from the Stanford Bookstore, and is one of four cultural centers located on campus. The first place I visited upon my arrival to Stanford as a Freshman in 2001 was the NACC, it was my home for the next five years and now!
What is the environment like?
When I approached the NACC my eyes immediately fixated on a totem pole strategically positioned outside of the center. The totem pole stood about 30ft. tall and was adorned with intricate designs, colors, and thought provoking imagery. The feeling of spirituality and sense of community promptly entered my being as I walked through the NACC front door. The atmosphere was open and inviting, with students lounging on couches, chatting, and laughing. The walls were filled with colorful posters, Native American artwork, and symbols. It was a relaxed, stress-free, and safe space.
What do learners do there?
The NACC has a community room, a computer room, a library, a kitchen, and administrative offices. Learners go there to: 1) Study, 2) Read, 3) Write Papers, 4) Conduct Research on Native American Tribes & Issues, 5) Watch TV, 6) Listen to a Lecture, 5) Engage is Conversation, 6) Interact with/Solicit Advice from the Administrative Staff, 7) Stanford Powwow Planning & Implementation, 8) For Counseling Services, 9) To Eat Occasional Meals, and 10) Sometimes Sleep!
The Native American Cultural Center helps American Indian students thrive academically, culturally and socially by providing a sense of community. It also serves as a research facility for other students interested in learning more about American Indian tribes, customs, or ideology.
Nationally, American Indians make up only 1 percent of the undergraduate student body, up from 0.7 percent in 1976. Today Stanford’s Native American student body stands at 3 percent.