Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


American Indian Cultural House creates space for Indigenous first-years to adjust to college life

The AICH is the longest-running multicultural Living Learning Community, starting in 2004.
The AICH hosts several cultural events a semester to engage students and build community.
Image by Delaney Anderson (courtesy)
The AICH hosts several cultural events a semester to engage students and build community.

The American Indian Cultural House (AICH) is a multicultural Living Learning Community that brings together Indigenous first-year students at the University. 

Based in Pioneer Hall, Indigenous first-year students are allowed the unique opportunity to surround themselves with other Indigenous students as a part of the AICH.

AICH Intern Taylor Fairbanks said it is her job to plan events and activities like cooking and game or movie nights.

“I wanted to be a peer mentor for AICH because of the community-building aspect that it requires,” Fairbanks said.

Fairbanks said this year is unique for the AICH, as it finishes its 20th year with the highest-ever cohort of 20 students.

“We have students from Minnesota but also have students from out of state, and we have students from the reservation but also students from urban areas. There is such a big variety of Native experiences,” Fairbanks said. 

Fairbanks herself was a part of the AICH and said it is the biggest reason she became the program intern. 

“Being in AICH, it really got me involved with different student organizations on campus,” Fairbanks said. 

Delaney Anderson, the AICH advisor, said her goal is to help all of her 20 students feel connected to each other and have a sense of support on campus. 

“At a predominantly white institution it’s imperative to have a space and a community where you feel a sense of belonging — where you’re surrounded by people who look like you, sound like you, have similar life experiences, are coming from similar communities and just understand you without having to offer any other explanation,” Anderson said.

The AICH is supported by the Circle of Indigenous Nations, the Native support office at the University, where Anderson is the American Indian Student Engagement Specialist.

“Other than the UMN Campus community, part of AICH’s mission is to try to find ways to connect to the broader Native community off campus through events such as sugar bush or ceremonies through local Native organizations,” Anderson said.

The largest event the AICH hosts is the Fall Feast, where the new cohort of first-year students is introduced while also honoring the alumni AICH members.

“We honor these graduates with a blanket, which is a cultural practice to acknowledge their accomplishment of completing their degree,” Anderson said. “At this event we also invite other AICH cohorts and AICH alumni to connect with the new cohort, to further extend their support network across campus and disciplines.”

Arianna Weston, an AICH member, said although she has not been very active, it has helped her understand her peers. 

“It’s nice to catch up and visit with people I may not see on a regular basis. If anything, it’s helped me make connections between other Indigenous people on campus,” Weston said. 


One of Weston’s favorite activities was visiting Guthrie Theater, where students saw a play by Indigenous writers and actors called “For the People.”

Weston said although the program did not make a huge impact on her, she would still recommend it to other students because it is a great resource for first-year students.

“As Indigenous people, we have different needs culturally and spiritually, so to be a part of a community that is catered and centered around Indigenous people, is amazing,” Weston said. “Every space given to Indigenous people matters, and such a space should be utilized.”

The funding for this reporting position comes from a grant given to The Minnesota Daily from the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication, with money from the Freedom Forum. The Daily retains editorial independence from the University of Minnesota in all forms, including this reporting position.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *