the naercc building with the naercc logo on the side

The Native American Education, Resource and Cultural Center (NAERCC)

NAERCC silhouette 

Research proves that a physical space for Indigenous students is of vital importance. It is very crucial to build a sense of community, provide support services and resources to meet the unique needs of Native students. This is what the Native American Education, Research, & Cultural Center (NAERCC) and our Native programs housed in the NAERCC provide at the University of Wyoming; please consider supporting the NAERCC and our phenomenal Native American students through their college experience.

The NAERCC is a place of community, support, engagement, and learning all while assisting our students in maintaining their cultural identity. Continuous relationship building and outreach is a pivotal aspect of the NAERCC. The NAERCC provides multiple opportunities for our Native students at the University of Wyoming, including internships, part-time employment, student organizations like Keepers of the Fire, leadership opportunities, and more. The facility has a variety of spaces within; a computer lab, library, classroom, kitchen, study areas, as well as a lounge. The NAERCC houses the Native American Program Advisor & student support services, Native American & Indigenous Studies (NAIS) department, the Native American Summer Institute, and the High Plains American Indian Research Institute (HPAIRI).


 students in line for breakfast in the NAERCC




The Native American & Indigenous Studies department develops respect for, and understanding of, Native views, culture and history and provides learners with the Native perspective on contemporary issues. Students in NAIS develop and refine skills in creative and critical thinking and graduate prepared to succeed in any field they choose.

The Native American Summer Institute focuses on the recruitment of Native high school students from Wyoming and other tribal communities to the University of Wyoming. NASI exposes Native American participants to a unique pre-college experience that can open doors and opportunities to assist with achieving their higher education dreams and goals.

High Plains American Indian Research Institute is an entity that tribes and scholars can access and utilize for both tribally-driven research and for research initiated by UW scholars that pertains to Native American people, their lands, and resources.


Land Acknowledgement

In late spring of 2020 (mid-pandemic), ASUW passed Senate Bill #2699 for a land acknowledgement to be read at their ASUW meetings and the bill was unanimously passed. This land acknowledgement was written to be inclusive and collaborative amongst our Native Communities, Native Students, and UW partners across campus. Together with the support from ASUW President Talamantes (then Senator) and VP Titus (then Chief of Staff), former ASUW President Wilkins, Former Vice President Houghton, UMC Co-Chair Gonzales along with Senators Alrejjal, Mulhall, Pierson, and Welsh, Director Savage, First-Year Senator Swilling, and SAL Bennett, Dr. Jaime from Native American & Indigenous Studies, Reinette Tendore from the NAERCC, Multicultural Affairs, and students from the Keepers of the Fire Student Organization; this land acknowledgement should be “a meaningful practice with appreciation and gratitude to the original inhabitants and their sacrifices made for the land.” 

We appreciate and are so thankful for our UW campus partners and community for supporting this effort and other Native American efforts across campus that work towards advocating and providing space for our Native community, especially our students and their families.

“We collectively acknowledge that the University of Wyoming occupies the ancestral and traditional lands of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Crow, and Shoshone Indigenous peoples along with other Native tribes who call the Great Basin and Rocky Mountain region home. We recognize, support, and advocate alongside Indigenous individuals and communities who live here now, and with those forcibly removed from their Homelands.”

-ASUW Senate Bill #2699


Please see our INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY page for more info

Donate to the Native Center

Take time today, to donate the NAERCC, as well as the Native American Program, Native American Summer Institute, and the Native American & Indigenous Studies Department.

We always appreciate the generous gifts of friends of the NAERCC. Donations are typically used to enhance the learning experiences of our students, and to help us reach out into the wider community with the facilities and resources of the program.

Although the state of Wyoming provides the foundation of support we need to operate, it takes private gifts to make ours an exemplary program. These gifts do not replace other revenue streams but serve as a catalyst for the enhancement of our program. Through the generosity of our friends, funds are available when there is a sudden need, or a sudden opportunity.

donate now

group of people outside of Native Center posing for homecoming parade

FORWARD together

mia holt with uw flagstudents try and put pinecones in rexynative hoop dancergroup gathers to celebrate scholarshipstudents pose for portraits in UW gearstudents have lunch outside in wyoming summer weatherstudents gather to have pizza in native centercowboy carnival fun with watergunsstudent with a native shirt



At the NAERCC, not only do we reach out to students and the Native community, but we establish life-long friendships and relationships. The University of Wyoming provides a tight knit community of students and faculty that are here for learning, expansion, and enjoyment of education. The importance of the Center is impossible to define, but it is a pivotal point in the lives of all Native American students on campus, while helping with retention, recruitment, and outreach of Native youth and beyond.


Meet Our Graduates

picture collage of graduates


fall leaves against sky


Chelsea Bad Hawk (Bachelor of Science in Pyschology), Taryn Jim (Masters in Social Work), Tonya Dewey (Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice), Aly Sounding Sides (Bachelor of Science in Energy Resources Management and Development), Andi Valdez (Bachelors of General Studies with an emphasis in Native American & Indigenous Studies and Psychology), Dennis Makeshine (Bachelor of Arts in Visual & Fine Arts)

[This year's Spring 2021 Class Graduates all recieved their blankets but the Graduate Banquet was canceled due to COVID-19.]

Alicia Underwood (BS in Agriculture Business), Christie Wildcat (BS in Native American & Indigenous Studies, Anthropology, Political Studies), Eric Bennett (BA in Secondary Education and History with an English as a second Language Endorsement), Kyliah Ferris (Masters in Speech Pathology), Odessa Oldham (BS in Agriculture Communications)

[This year's Spring 2020 Class Graduates all recieved their blankets but the Graduate Banquet was canceled due to COVID-19.]


a group of graduates with native design blankets


a group of graduates with native blankets


Asnoldo Benitez (MS, Science & Mathematics Teaching Center, HAUB School), Taryn Jim (BA, Native American & Indigenous Studies), Vanessa Sorrels (PhD, Pharmacy), Colleen Friday (MS, Rangeland Ecology & Watershed Management), Mia Holt (BA, Native American & Indigenous Studies), Cassie Underwood (BA, Social Science), Cyrille Mitchell (BA, Psychology), Piram Duran (BA, Psychology)


Sevilla Soto (History and Native American & Indigenous Studies), Kyliah Ferris (Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences), Hunter McFarland (Communications), Lee "Giz" Tendore (Native American & Indigenous Studies), Antonia Valdez (Elementary Education), Chaske Valdez (Native American & Indigenous Studies), Kailyn Washakie (Secondary English), Adanna Ryan (Counseling), David Mendoza (Anthropology & Haub School, Environmental and Natural Resources), Haylee Gobert (Agricultural and Applied Economics), Contessa Bonds (Masters in Healthcare Administration), Alex Terry (Agricultural Communications), Aldora White Eagle (PhD in Education), Taylor Stagner (Communications)

Contact Us

Native American Education, Research and Cultural Center

200 S. 10th St.

Laramie, WY 82070

(307) 766-8988