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Western's Tribal Liaison

Laural Ballew is Western's first executive director of American Indian/Alaska Native and First Nations Relations & Tribal Liaison to the President

This article expands on a story about Western's newly funded campus longhouse and efforts to increase Native student enrollment. Read the full story here.

What she does Ballew works for the Tribal Relations department, which is housed under the school’s VP of Communications and University Relations. She works directly with Western’s Board of Trustees and president. Ballew works to represent them; Native students, faculty and staff; and tribal organizations and nations, including Northwest Indian College. She does this in part by fostering a working relationship with tribes to improve Native student retention, as well as building enrollment. Ballew works at making Western’s presence known with Native institutions and supporting staff with policies and curriculum at Western.

What this means …  Ballew has accomplished meeting the NASU’s 2016 requests, the last of which is the longhouse. She is currently working on a historical timeline that will use documents related to Native history. She also is conscious of the fact that Native students are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and food insecurity, so she is working on this issue. Ballew worked with Washington state Rep. Debra Lekanoff to write a budget proposal and present it to the state government for its eventual approval.

“Faculty are already working full-time, and staff, and anything to do with Tribal Relations fell on them. That could be a lot of expectation[s],” Ballew said.

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