CHENEY, Wash. - Working in consultation with elders from the Spokane Tribe's Language/Culture Program, Eastern Washington University's newly opened residence hall has been named Snyamncut Hall (sen-yam-en-sut). The EWU board of trustees unanimously approved the residence hall name as a way to honor the legacy of the native Spokane people and to reinforce its active cultural influence in the area.
Snyamncut is the Spokane Salish word for place of gathering, with the connotation of it being a special place of emotional attachment - a place of the heart. Salish is a shared language with different dialects used by several northwest tribal people, and Interior Salish is the native language of the Spokane Tribe. EWU is located within the larger ancestral home of the tribe, and in fact, the actual area of the university and surrounding lakes was an annual gathering spot in the summer for tribal members.
Elders with the Spokane Tribes Language/Culture Education program were consulted in developing the name. The group met with university leaders to understand the philosophy and program goals of campus residential life, and they visited the hall to ensure that the name proposed would be fitting.
"Eastern Washington University is an institution of education that values a broadened cultural perspective," said Stacey Morgan Foster, vice president for Student Affairs at Eastern. "We are honored to name the new hall Snyamncut, and we are confident our students will appreciate its significance in contributing to their education."
Foster also noted EWU will create an educational wall display about the Spokane Tribe and its language on the first floor of the building, in order to ensure the name has context and that Eastern's original values in securing the name are realized.
The state-of-the-art hall opened this fall, and houses more than 350 students in double and triple rooms. Snyamncut Hall serves as the hub of the residential district, providing comfortable study and social spaces as well and high-tech amenities that integrate the living and academic environments for maximum student success.
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