Dinner on Us


Dinner on Us is administered by the Native American House (NAH) and is part of the Lunch on Us Series within Student Success, Inclusion & Belonging. 

Dinner on Us is a biweekly one-hour evening program comprising scholar and practitioner-led workshops and a meal. Workshops either spotlight a specific campus resource or promote the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives about topics such as, but not limited to, the history of colonization, Indigenous-settler relationships, and Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

If you are interested in contributing to Dinner on Us as a presenter, please contact Dr. Charlotte Davidson, NAH Director, at drchar@illinois.edu


Dinner on Us aims to: 

  • Create positive and supportive relationships between students and the Native American House, including its partners.
  • Address increased food insecurity among students by providing a free meal.
  • Construct an institutional learning space (outside the classroom) for students to stay motivated and engaged in their educational journey.

Community Agreements for Attendees

To create a learning atmosphere in which presenters and attendees feel respected by and connected to one another, we ask everyone to:

  • Show up with good intentions.
  • Be a good relative by demonstrating behaviors of reciprocity, responsibility, and relationality.
  • Respect everyone’s identity, ability, background, voice, experience, and boundaries.


Should you need accommodations (interpreting, live captioning, etc.), please contact Dr. Charlotte Davidson at drchar@illinois.edu or call the Native American House at (217) 265-0632.

The Spring 2024 Dinner on Us series celebrates the twenty-year presence of the Native American House on Nevada Street and honors Native student life at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.

Tuesday, February 6, 5:30 p.m.
Location: Wassaja Hall (1202 S. 1st St., Champaign)

The Story of Wassaja: The First Native Alumnus of the University of Illinois

Speaker: Jamie M. Singson (Filipino/Yaqui), Director, Capital Planning and Space Management

Program Description: In 1880, Carlos “Wassaja” Montezuma (Yavapai) entered the doors of the University of Illinois, then known as Illinois Industrial University. Join Jamie Singson as he talks about how this period of Wassaja’s educational career influenced his leadership development, medical career, and life of advocacy for Native American rights.

Co-sponsor: University Housing

Tuesday, February 20, 5:30 p.m.
Location: Asian American Cultural Center (1210 W. Nevada St., Urbana)

The Story of Our Emergence: The Native American House at the University of Illinois

Speakers: Dr. Brenda Farnell, Department of Anthropology, and John McKinn (Maricopa), American Indian Studies

Program Description: Dr. Charlotte Davidson (Diné/Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara) engages Dr. Brenda Farnell and John McKinn about the cultural, social, and political forces that brought the Native American House into being at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Current contributions, such as bringing voice, support, and celebration of Native students, will also be discussed.

Co-sponsors: American Indian Studies and Department of Anthropology

Tuesday, March 19, 5:30 p.m.
Location: Murphy Lounge, University YMCA (1001 S. Wright St., Champaign)

Developing Next-Generation Leaders: A Native Alumna Perspective

Speaker: Charlene Teters (Spokane), 2024 Distinguished Alumna Awardee, School of Art & Design, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Program Description: The Native American House invites Charlene Teters to offer a lived experience approach in discussing situations and events that have led her to a richer and more meaningful understanding of leadership. Navigating new paths and lessons learned will also be shared. Aspiring, current, and rising leaders are encouraged to attend

Tuesday, March 26, 5:30 p.m.
Location: Core Gallery, Spurlock Museum of World Cultures (600 S. Gregory St., Urbana)

Visibilizing Community Self-determination: The Native American House Logo

Speaker: Dr. Jean Mendoza

Program Description: The Native American House (NAH) invites Dr. Jean Mendoza to share the story behind the creation, meaning, and symbolism of the NAH logo, designed by her late husband, Durango Mendoza (Muscogee Creek/Mexican). Dr. Mendoza will be joined by the Director of the NAH to highlight the significance of Durango’s work on developing best practices to support Native students. To complement this program is Juxtapositioned, a temporary exhibit showcasing some of Durango’s artistic pieces.

Tuesday, April 2, 5:30 p.m.
Location: Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center (1212 W Nevada St, Urbana)

Encouraging Agency and Representation of Native Student Life at Illinois: A Discussion with Professor Cassandra Smith and School of Art & Design Students

Speakers: Dr. Cassandra Smith, Visiting Lecturer, School of Art & Design and Undergraduate Scholars

Program Description: Professor Cassandra Smith and students enrolled in her undergraduate seminar, "Indigenous-Centered Museum Practices," will discuss their collaboration with Native American House to develop a community-accessible and community-generated digital archive utilizing the Mukurtu digital heritage and collections management system and will facilitate a hands-on community archival activity.

Tuesday, April 23, 6 p.m.
Location: Asian American Cultural Center (1210 W. Nevada St., Urbana)

Honing Our Narrative: Rhetorical Sovereignty and Native Student Development at Illinois

Speakers: Native American House Ambassadors: David Eby (Choctaw/Muscogee Creek), Yanaba Schroeder (Navajo), and Emma Walkowiak (Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa)

Program Description: Rhetorical sovereignty supports the creation of student development experiences at the Native American House (NAH) at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Utilizing a storytelling format, NAH Ambassadors will share how they translate ideas from this concept into how they understand their role and responsibility as Indigenous scholars.