Program Overview

The Indigenous Policy Summer Institutes are a series of short-term academic and service-learning exchanges that provide a student-based and partially student-run space for the discussion of questions of indigenous governance, culture, politics, and history, which takes place in an interdisciplinary, experiential and indigenous setting. Prepared by a classroom seminars, graduate and undergraduate students and faculty from Oregon State University and interested partners meet for a week of field trips and an academic conference each spring. The location may be a different indigenous community every year.

The student-based institutes are organized in cooperation between Oregon State University, tribal nations, and further institutional partners. Faculty-led workshops and courses at all participating institutions prepare a joint field trip, the institute week, which contains institutional visits, talks and workshops.

The institutes are targeted towards students of the humanities and social sciences, including Public Policy, Political Science, Cultural and Literary Studies, History, Education, Ethnic Studies, and others, who are working together in order to approach political and historical topics with a strong relation to present-day cultural and public policy issues. The students are furthermore provided with an outlook into professional and practical applications of their academic training.

The MPP program partners with Intercultural Students Services at OSU to create a diverse group of participants. Each summer institute is prepared by a class at all all participating universities in the preceding term. During Zero Week, we undertake a week-long field trip to locations of relevance to the summer institute topic.

The Indigenous Policy Summer Institute web site includes the complete program history and educational philosophy of the series.

Program History

Upcoming Summer Institute:

2nd Indigenous Policy Summer Institute
Warm Springs, OR (TBC), June 13-27, 2015

Institute Web Site


1st Indigenous Policy Summer Institute
Warm Springs, OR, June 16-20, 2014

In cooperation between Intercultural Student Services, Office of Civic Engagement, Public Policy Graduate Program, OSU Policy Analysis Laboratory

MPP students Mai Nguyen and Bryan Theis, and visiting researcher Margharita Arcieri participated in the 1st Indigenous Policy Summer Institute at Warm Springs, Indian Reservation, together with fellow OSU students organized by the Office of Civic Engagement.

The group in front of Kah-Nee-Ta

After a preparatory class in spring term 2014 (taught by Allison Davis-White Eyes, Philipp Kneis, Sally Duncan and PhD Student Hillary Fishler) and a workshop (conducted by Emily Bowling), a group of students and faculty travelled to Warm Springs Indian Reservation for a week of work shops, field trips and service learning activities in Zero Week. We attended workshops on tribal government, cultural and language preservation, youth programs, cultural foods, public safety and jurisdiction, governmental policy, environmental and energy policy. We visited the Warm Springs dam, the Salmon Hatchery, Indian Health Service, the OSU Extension Service at Warm Springs, and took part in a guided tour through the Kah-nee-ta canyon. Both the class and the field trip provided students with in-depth perspectives on tribal governance and policy.

Kah-Nee-Ta Hotel and Resort

A view from Kah-Nee-Ta Canyon

Warm Springs Hydroelectric Dam

BBQ at Kah-Nee-Ta Village, sponsored by OSU Extension

See also: Complete List of Summer Institutes


A Related Program, the Transatlantic Students Symposia, has been incorporating topics of indigenous policy as well:

  • Sustainability in Education, Culture and Politics: Questioning the Validity of National Narratives and Policies
    12th Transatlantic Students Symposium. Humboldt University Berlin / Oregon State University / Warsaw University, NM, AZ, CO, OR, March 21-30, 2014
  • Rural Frontier Communities, Global Challenges? The American West, the European East, and the Resurgence of National Mythologies
    10th Transatlantic Students Symposium Humboldt University Berlin / Oregon State University / Warsaw University, Oregon, March 24-31, 2012
  • Unity in Diversity? Minority Rights in the United States and the European Union
    5th Transatlantic Students Symposium. Georgetown / Humboldt-University Berlin / Oregon State University, Berlin/Split/Mostar/Cottbus, March 3-11, 2007


back to: Diversity and International Programs