History of the Institute

The Electa Quinney Institute for American Indian Education was founded at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) in 2010. It grew out of an endowed professorship in American Indian education established in 1999 through a gift from the Indian Community School to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Indian Community School, a private school located in Franklin, a suburb of Milwaukee, offers culturally relevant education to 278 American Indian students from 13 tribal nations in grades Kindergarten through eight.

Information about the extraordinary school building. The school was given the 2009 Design Excellence Award from the AIA Committee on Architecture for Education.
A virtual tour of the building is available by clicking here.

Leading up to the creation of the institute, a series of focus groups and interviews were held in 2007 to define how the teaching, research and service needs identified by American Indian community members and the Indian Community School might be met by UWM. The findings, as well as descriptions within the Electa Quinney Contribution Agreement, resulted in a 40-page report, “Strategic Plan and Vision for American Indian Programming at UW-Milwaukee.”

The Institute’s namesake, Electa Quinney, is recognized as Wisconsin’s first public school teacher. A member of the Stockbridge-Mohican tribe, she taught American Indian and white children in a one-room log school which opened in 1828.

The Director, Margaret Noodin, began her position in July 2014. She obtained her MFA and PhD from the University of Minnesota. She joins us at EQI from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Dr. Noodin, is a prolific publisher and is actively engaged in preserving indigenous languages, specifically Ojibwe (Anishinaabemowin).