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Elder-in-Residence Program (EIR)


The EIR Program brings to the district a well-respected, local American Indian elder to foster cultural, academic, and social support for the Native student cohort as well as to enrich the campus community.

Selected elders may come from all parts of Indian Country (with a strong preference for California tribal representation) and are chosen for their deep cultural knowledge, integrity, and leadership in Native causes.

The EIR may also be termed a “culture-bearer” in residence.

This program is sponsored by SMUD and American River College.


 The EIR program is designed to:

  • Perpetuate the practices of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK)
  • Validate Native American lifeways and ways of knowing
  • Reinforce American Indian identity and affirm American Indian student lived realities
  • Raise the awareness of Native culture within the district
  • Foster relationships between American Indian communities and ARC
  • Embed with the American Indian Summer Institute youth and the Institute for California Native Student Success.


Practical activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Holding office hours for Native student mentoring, projects, and consultation
  • Supporting faculty members in their teaching
  • Joining monthly faculty and student lunches
  • Meeting with Native parents
  • Hosting informative events
  • Creating “take-home” projects for the high school and college Native student cohorts
  • Visiting classrooms and giving talks
  • Meeting with district staff, admin, and teachers
  • Helping with community outreach events
  • Planning and implementing field trips to important “traditional ecological knowledge” areas

For more information, contact Prof. Jesus Valle: