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The founder of the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies respected and admired American Indians from childhood.  Kathryn Buder believed education is a key factor in restoring American Indians' self-esteem and her commitment to an education that honors the American Indian culture led her to establish a center in 1990.

Originally founded to provide scholarships for American Indians, the Buder Center has grown into one of the most respected centers in the nation for the academic advancement and study of American Indian issues related to social work. The Buder Center offers one American Indian course per semester, which Buder Scholars are required to take. Additionally, the Buder Center is charged with developing Buder Scholars into leaders who will serve in Indian Country.