In 1970, students Michael Running Wolf and Jim Nelson joined together to start a grassroots movement to address the needs of current and future Native American students at University of Colorado Denver. Together, they identified the need increase awareness and promote understanding about the specific support needed for American Indian student success. They saw that a student organization would accommodate the basic needs and encourage Native students to become active student leaders. From this beginning the movement they began would eventually unfold into the formation of a student organization called NASO – Native American Student Organization.
The accomplishments of Michael Running Wolf and Jim Nelson were grounded in their own needs as college students. Following in their spirit of advocacy and activism, NASO holds the value of students helping students. This value promotes an environment where Native students can gather and network with each other.
Native student leaders will continue, in Running Wolf’s and Nelson’s honor, to maintain a high regard for enhancement, appreciation, and respect for students who still hold their traditional ways-of-life through Native ancestry and cultural values. 1
To represent the Native students within the university and campus community
To improve the Native students’ academic and social well-being
To encourage and support Native American students in adjusting to an alien culture, outside of their homelands (i.e. reservations or reserves), as well as to the University environment
We continue to unite as students to help others and ourselves achieve greater goals by gaining a higher education. We invite CU Denver students, faculty and staff to join us by attending our special events!2