NASI Celebrates Culture and Heritage at Launch Event

Office of Global Affairs helps launch new Initiative to promote Native American studies, celebrate culture and heritage

-By Charles Givens

November 10, 2023

The Washington Duke Inn provided a grand setting, although some might find it ironic, for the Office of Global Affairs’ Native American Studies Initiative (NASI) launch event on November 2. The event celebrated the Initiative’s launch and highlighted the importance of Native American History Month, acknowledged every November.

An attendee with Native American markings on his clothing looks on as Dr. Courtney Lewis speaks to the crowd.
An attendee with Native American markings on his clothing looks on as Dr. Courtney Lewis speaks to the crowd (Photo credit: Chuck Givens)

Attendees from Duke and the surrounding Triangle area gathered in the Ambassador Duke Ballroom to socialize and learn about NASI. NASI Director Dr. Courtney Lewis and special guests from local tribes mingled with attendees and shared their passion and commitment to the program. In her welcoming remarks, Lewis emphasized that the public should better understand Native American history in the area and expressed her hope for a more just and equitable future.


After Dr. Lewis’s remarks, the atmosphere shifted to a celebration of culture and heritage. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about and engage with each other about the rich traditions and heritage of Native and Indigenous peoples.

“I was delighted with the turnout we had for this important celebration,” said Katherine Black, International Programs Manager for the Office of Global Affairs. “We hoped that this event would be well-received and serve as an opportunity for a wide array of backgrounds to come together to celebrate, learn and reflect on the rich culture, history and heritage of Native and Indigenous people in this area and beyond. The event was a powerful reminder that we are all stronger when we come together.”

More than a ceremonial beginning, the kickoff event served as a platform for fostering awareness and meaningful conversations around Native American studies at Duke and making visible those faces and voices which have been obscured or hidden.