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2017 Native American Welcome

2017 Native American Welcome Image
Raised toward our $3,500 Goal
15 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on August 16, at 12:00 PM PDT
Project Owners

2018 UNLV Native Convocation: Please Join Us

April 18, 2018
Backers Only: Only backers of this project can see this update. If you are a backer please to see this update.

In Gratitude

September 07, 2017

We are happy to report that this year’s welcome was a great success!  Thanks to your moral and financial support, we were able to host over 90 students, family members, alumni, faculty, and staff.  The number of registered attendees was 46 percent higher than the previous year.  We were all reminded of this as faculty could not hold back their excitement and were heard exclaiming,  “this is our best turnout ever!”

It’s fair to say that the record turnout can be attributed to your financial contribution.  With the money that we raised, we were not only able to share a meal, but we were able to offer each student a UNLV themed swag bag and the opportunity to win one of seventeen $50 credits at the UNLV Bookstore.  These incentives got students to attend and to stay throughout the entire program.  Thank you!

If that’s not enough, you’ll be happy to learn that your contribution is having a double impact.  We donated the games that we purchased to the Division of Student Affairs.  This means the games will have an extended life as others use them for campus events.

Thank you for helping us elevate the level of enthusiasm for the new school year, and please continue to monitor our progress by visiting our website at:

In gratitude,

Please Accept Our Thanks

August 19, 2017

Thank you for contributing to the success of our campaign!  As one of our fifteen donors, you helped us raise $2,900 for UNLV’s Native American Welcome.  Now that the fundraiser is over, we are busy preparing to welcome new and returning students.  Once we catch our breath, we will provide you with a more thorough update on our activities.  In the meantime, if you happen to be on or near campus, on August 25 (11:30 to 2pm), please drop by the student union (room 222) to see your donation at work.  Thank you again for your generosity.

Why We Do What We Do

August 11, 2017

This is the final week of our campaign and I hate to admit that it has been more difficult than I imagined.  I made the mistake of buying into the prevailing attitude that tribes are flush with Indian Gaming money and that they and their partners would not blink an eye at giving to an Indian association.  Oh boy, was I wrong!  The most jarring response I heard was, “UNLV doesn’t do anything for Indian students.”  As an Indian person, who is somewhat familiar with retention, progression, and completion efforts, this sentiment is hard for me to defend against and it made me question why and what we (AIA) do in this area.

After I dusted myself off, I dove back into the literature on American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) and Higher Education.  Almost immediately, I found an article by Raphael M. Guillory, who is a professor of Counseling, Educational, and Developmental Psychology, at Eastern Washington University.  Dr. Guillory’s article deals with retention strategies for AI/AN students.[1] Guillory identifies three retention strategies and I was heartened to learn that our Native American Welcome achieves at least two of the goals covered under Dr. Guillory’s strategies.  The three strategies are as follows.

Strategy 1: Maintain Connections to Family and Tribal Community.  The idea here is that Indian students are motivated to persist by a desire to give back to their community or to Indian Country in general.  The goal for institutions is to provide ways for their students to maintain their tribal connections and to learn about the needs of Indian Country so students can enter into high demand careers.  AIA does make a special effort to invite students’ families to attend the Native American Welcome.   The act of inviting families to campus encourages them to become involved in the educational journey and eases any hesitation they might have about sending their family member/s to UNLV.

Strategy 2: Address Single-Parent Students and Students with Family Issues.  This strategy recognizes that a high percentage of AI/AN students are non-traditional students with unique needs.  For 2017, AIA has revamped its welcome to address this issue.  The Native American Welcome program contains a guide that identifies resources both at UNLV and within the community.  In addition, we have invited one speaker (a former Ms. Native UNLV), who is working for the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, to provide child-care to Native families.

Strategy3: Academic Assistance through Peer Mentoring.  UNLV does not have a peer mentoring program for its Native students.  However, each year we do invite the native registered student organizations to participate in the welcome.  This year, native student organizations will provide one of the official welcomes and we hope that their presence will encourage students to build social networks that may develop into mentee/mentor relationships.

Now, I understand that none of this absolves us from the larger criticism that, at the institutional level, UNLV does not do all that it can to insure more of its Native students persist and complete their educational goals.   The American Indian Alliance will continue to lobby administration to do more and we have witnessed some movement in the right direction.  Moreover, we know there are members of the President’s Cabinet who are concerned about the status of UNLV’s Native students and they are our allies in this effort.  Please do not doubt our commitment AND please join us by contributing today and sharing our campaign with your friends and colleagues.  Onward and upward! #NativeUNLV

Richard Boland, Project Collaborator


[1] Guillory, R. M. (2009). American Indian/Alaska Native College Student Retention Strategies. Journal of Developmental Education, Winter, 14-40.

Artwork Donated for Top Tier Donor

July 31, 2017

Local artist Fawn Douglas has pledged two 11 x 16 art prints to the first donor at the All-In Level.  The open edition prints are of oil paintings that appeared in the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art’s Yesterday & Today exhibition.

Fawn is an artist, activist, and member of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, where she previously served as a tribal councilwoman. She also has roots in the Moapa Paiute, Cheyenne, Pawnee, and Creek Nations. Fawn has studied at the College of Southern Nevada and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) – where she graduated with a B.A. in Art, Painting and Drawing in 2015.  During her time at UNLV, Fawn served as a proud member of the Native American Student Association.  She also studied as an international artist-in-residence in Oaxaca, Mexico through the Arquetopia Foundation.

As a UNLV alumna Fawn said that she, “recognize(s) how important events like the Native American Welcome are to Indian students.”  Anyone familiar with Fawn’s work knows that her commitment to the Las Vegas community is grounded in her rich ancestral history.  We appreciate Fawn’s support and we hope that you will join us by donating today and by sharing our campaign with your friends and networks. Thank you for your support!

Why a Native American Welcome?

July 28, 2017

First, thank you to all who have contributed.  We are entering the third week of the campaign and we have already reached 40% of our goal!  We have also heard from donors who intend to give or who are advancing our request within their organization.  These positive responses mean we will end our campaign with a bang!  However, before we do that, please continue to share our project with your friends and contacts.  Remember, every share on Facebook and Twitter brings us closer to our goal.

Now, about the impact your donation has on student success.  Our project description introduced the idea of student involvement (co-curricular activities) and its role in retention and academic performance.  We will not get into the weeds of student development theory, but the existence of offices devoted solely to student involvement are a testament to the positive outcomes produced by this investment.   UNLV’s Native American Welcome introduces students to opportunities to get involved in campus life.  The American Indian Alliance (AIA) produces most of these activities and we produce them for students who have an interest in American Indian and Native Alaskan culture.  The graphic below summarizes all of the activities that AIA produced last year.  Most of these activities are recurring events that do not happen without our volunteers.  For the 2017-2018 academic year, we are exploring new events; two of these include a UNLV Powwow hosted by the Native American Student Association and participation in the National Indian Gaming Association’s annual convention.  The welcome is our first opportunity to recruit students and it gives them another reason to come to campus to participate in university-wide Welcome Day festivities.  We hope you will join us in supporting culturally responsive opportunities for student involvement by contributing to our campaign today.  Thank you.

PHOTO: Roundup of events produced for AI/AN students

Thank You for Joining Our Campaign!

July 21, 2017

As we prepare to enter the second week of our campaign, we are reminded of the true diversity of UNLV’s student body.  During the first week of registration, students from the following tribes have registered for the welcome:  Apache, Dine’ (Navajo), Oglala Lakota, San Ildefonso, Santee, Saulteaux, and Tulalip.  This is a good start, but when we consider that there are over 500 Indian Nations in the US alone, this is just a sampling of the diversity of North America’s Indian People.

Your contribution helps us to create an environment that shows our Indian Nations (also called tribes, nations, bands, pueblos, communities, rancherias, and native villages) that UNLV celebrates the rich ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity of Indian Peoples.  The Native American Welcome sends a clear message to parents and tribal communities that UNLV is committed to providing the unique resources that Native students need to succeed.

If you have not yet contributed to this effort, please do so now.  If you have contributed, we thank you for your support and we ask that you please share our project with your friends and contacts.  Every share on Facebook and Twitter brings us closer to our goal!

Here’s to a successful 2017-2018 academic year!!

PHOTO: View from the venue for 2017 Native American Welcome

Choose a giving level



Thank you for anteing up. Your contribution will supply a meal and refreshments to one guest.



Your bonus contribution will allow us to provide a t-shirt and giveaways for two guests.



Your buck contribution will pay the cost to produce our event program. In addition to acknowledging all the generous individuals and organizations that made our event possible, the program will contain a list of resources available to American Indian and Alaska Native students.



To express our gratitude we extend an invitation to you and one guest to attend our event. In addition, Las Vegas Paiute artist and alumna Fawn Douglas ('15, BA) has pledged two 11x16 art prints for the first donor at this level.

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