The Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies at the Brown School at Washington University was founded to provide scholarships for Native Americans and has grown into one of the most respected centers in the nation for academic advancement and study of Native American issues related to social work.

The Buder Center develops programs and curriculum, engages in research, builds relationships and partnerships with communities and people, and develops the ability of its students and alumni to make positive change in Native American communities.

Buder Center’s History & Mission


The Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indians was founded in 1990 by a generous gift from Kathryn M. Buder, a resident of St. Louis who respected and admired American Indian/Alaska Native peoples. The Buder Center is housed within the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis with the mission to empower and prepare Native students for professional leadership in Native communities through education. 


The Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies’ mission is to become a premier program for the education of American Indian MSW students to practice in tribal and urban settings. Central to this mission are the following components: 1) Recruitment of American Indian scholars and practitioners who have committed to address issues and concerns in Indian Country; 2) In collaboration with the Brown School of Social Work and the Washington University community, the provision of student support necessary to accomplish their academic goals 3) Teaching and curriculum development to prepare students with the necessary knowledge, attitudes, and leadership skills to
effectively address issues and concerns in Indian Country 4) Research and policy
development that directly impacts Indian Country and 5) Community and Alumni
outreach efforts to enhance and foster sufficient relationships to support all of the above.

Prospective Student Information & Scholarship Information

Our scholars come from all over the country with undergraduate degrees in diverse fields as health, social work, psychology, business, law and education.  Future professional interests include work in social services, education, school social work, community development, tribal law, health, mental health, substance abuse and public policy to name a few.  It is the combination of culture, spirituality, education, determination and hard work that makes the Buder Center Scholars ready to meet the needs and challenges of Native communities.

Projects & Resources

The Buder Center is involved in numerous community-based projects, research, and creating educational resources to promote equity and awareness of Native American people.

Historical and Intergenerational Trauma: Creating Culturally Safe Care for AIAN Populations with Jennifer Nanez (Acoma Pueblo), MSW, LMSW
Upcoming Events

Indigenous Perspectives: Interpretation and Stewardship of Cultural Heritage in Museums

Tuesday, April 9th from 5:00-6:45pm at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

A selection of relevant works from the Kemper’s collection will be on view from 4:00-5:00pm, and light refreshments will be served. 

Presentations will address the creation and use of cultural objects as integral parts of cultural lifeways within Native communities, the impact of NAGPRA rulings on Tribal repatriation efforts, and the role of encyclopedic museums in collecting, presenting, and interpreting art and cultural objects.

Presentations by: Jim Pepper Henry (Kaw), Carrie Wilson (Quapaw), & Dr. Alex Marr

Registration for this event has closed. Please contact Alison Eigel Zade ( to be placed on the waitlist.

Land Acknowledgement

The Kathryn M. Buder Center at Washington University in St. Louis occupies the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Osage Nation, Otoe-Missouria, Illinois Confederacy, Quapaw, Ho-Chunk, Miami and many other tribes as the custodians of the land where we reside, occupy, and call home.

We recognize their sovereignty was never ceded after unjust removal and encourage your own research on tribal removal, tribal sovereignty and the history of the land you reside.

We promote the inclusion of tribal history and the incorporation of contemporary thoughts and actions into your work.

In offering this land acknowledgement, we affirm and support Tribal sovereignty, history and experiences by elders past, present, and seven generations yet to come through their continued connection to this land.