Explore Its Meanings

What We Do

The Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS) is an Indian-controlled nonprofit research and education center . . .

Since our founding on December 21, 2004, CAIRNS has worked to advance knowledge and understanding of American Indian communities and issues important to them. This is stated in our mission statement. The underlying assumption of our work is that education is a catalyst for positive changes in the attitudes and behaviors of persons within and outside of these communities.

CAIRNS has operated with the entrepreneurial attitude of “do first, find funding later,” while often skipping the second part entirely. Rather than promoting ourselves, growing our capacity, or expanding our reach, we have prioritized adhering to our mission and the “Four Rs” of Rigor, Reliability, Respect and Relevance, which are grounded in both academic scholarship and cultural competency As a result, our growth has been steady, organic and sustainable.