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History of the Native Nations Center

The roots of Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma reach back to the earliest days of the institution.  As early as 1915, American Indian students called for the creation of a museum focused on American Indian histories and cultures on OU’s campus.  The students’ idea of a dedicated physical space took hold, and in the 1920s and 1930s, OU Press Editor Joseph Brandt and OU President William Bizzell sought to construct an American Indian institute at OU.  They envisioned a place that would house classroom space for university courses focusing on American Indian topics and in which the university could host regular conferences focusing on contemporary American Indian policy and socioeconomic concerns.  Although the vision for a campus building has not yet been realized, three new courses were inaugurated in the early 1930s, making OU one of the first colleges to make American Indian subject matter a curricular focus.

The Department of Native American Studies' Native Nations Center was officially established in 2015.  The Native Nations Center now has office space and a special events space in Copeland Hall.  

It is our hope that, someday, the NNC will fulfill the vision of OU’s American Indian students and President William Bizzell and grow into a stand-alone building. The Chickasaw Nation has recently endowed the Native Nations Center to ensure its future.