Skip to main content



The Center has its origins in student activism in 2013, when undergraduate students in the Native American and Indigenous Students Alliance asked Northwestern’s administration to acknowledge university founder John Evans’s role in the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre. Evans was territorial governor of Colorado (a role that included acting as superintendent of Indian affairs in the territory) when United States soldiers killed around 209 Cheyenne and Arapaho men, women, and children, who had declared their peaceful intentions and placed themselves under the protection of the United States’s Fort Lyon.

In 2013, the Provost’s Office convened the John Evans Report Committee to explore Evans’s role in the Massacre and his relationship with Northwestern, resulting in the John Evans Report. Also in 2013, the University convened the Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force to recommend strategies to strengthen Northwestern’s relationship with Native American communities through recruitment efforts, academic programs, and campus support services. The Task Force recommended that the University fund an Indigenous Research Center.

In 2015, Weinberg Dean Adrian Randolph announced the Indigenous Studies Research Initiative, which resulted in part in the hires of two tenure-track assistant professors and a postdoctoral fellow. In 2016, Weinberg was awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation to support the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research.

John Evans Report

Report of the Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force

Announcement of Indigenous Studies Research Initiative

Announcement of Mellon Foundation grant for Center