Tribal Relations

Laural Ballew smiling

American Indian/Alaska Native and First Nations Relations Executive Director and Tribal Liaison: Laural Ballew

Laural Ballew has been named as Western Washington University’s first executive director of American Indian/Alaska Native and First Nations Relations & Tribal Liaison to the President.

An enrolled member of the Swinomish Tribe, Ballew has lived on the Lummi reservation with her husband of 43 years, Timothy Ballew Sr. She received a bachelor’s degree, with a major in American Cultural Studies and a minor in Native American Studies, from Western in 2002. She earned a master’s degree in Public Administration, from The Evergreen State College, and is studying for a doctorate in Indigenous Development and Advancement from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, in New Zealand.

Contact

Tribal Relations
490 Old Main
Laural.ballew@wwu.edu
Office: 360-650-3110


Student Resources

I understand navigating the university experience can be difficult but I am here to help you, and want to share the following resources with you.


Tribal Relations Timeline

Creation

Native American Student Union (NASU) Letter

May 16th, 2016 NASU sent a letter to the then University president, the incoming president, and the board of trustees advocating for action.

Department Created

Board of Trustees Resolution

This position was at the top of the list of five requests by the Native American Student Union in a letter dated May 2016. It was President Randhawa who moved forward with this initiative along with a committee of Native faculty, staff and students. The Board of Trustees passed a resolution establishing the Tribal Liaison office on April 4th, 2019, which is historic for this institution and for Native communities.

Tribal Liaison

Laural Ballew named Executive Director and Tribal Liaison

Laural Ballew has been named as Western Washington University’s first executive director of American Indian/Alaska Native and First Nations Relations & Tribal Liaison to the President. Ballew most recently served as department chair of Tribal Governance and Business Management at Northwest Indian College, a program which she created.

Future

Next Steps

"The number-one request was the tribal liaison. Number two was a traditional Coast Salish longhouse. Three was to certify Native tribal enrollment or descendency at Western in order to ascertain an accurate count of our Native student population. Four was funding for the annual pow-wow, and five was government-to-government training. I use those five objectives as pretty much my first-year plan. I’ll add to my list every year, but those are the five things that I'm working on right now." - Laural Ballew

Upper Puget Sound Tribes

All tribal descriptions taken from linked webpages