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Identifier: WH1299


The papers of this collection range from 1969 to 1997. Documents include research materials, articles and reports, and organizational papers including articles of incorporation and board meeting minutes, membership data and restricted student records. The evolution of student-oriented programs is reflected throughout materials from the late 1970s to the 1990s. The practical nature of the founders is reflected in the final reports from each program and recommendations to continue programs that work and eliminate unsuccessful programming. The collection also contains correspondence related to the constant fundraising efforts.

Photographs of conferences and workshops for teachers and students are included, as are numerous videotapes, mostly recorded at annual conventions.


This series details the formation of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. It contains meeting minutes, official correspondence, by-laws, and articles of incorporation. Membership directories and paperwork comprise a portion of the series including those for student chapters arranged alphabetically by state. Another section of the series contains papers for the National Conferences held annually.


The first managers of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society kept correspondence, reports, brochures and articles of interest. Hired as Executive Director in 1983, Norbert Hill Jr. kept files from his previous position with the American Indian Educational Opportunity Program at the University of Colorado, which were retained in this collection. After 1983, Hill corresponded with corporations, educational institutions and individuals on behalf of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. He also served on several boards. This correspondence is included in this series, as well as articles and reports on topics of interest such as alcoholism. These files are arranged alphabetically.


Arranged chronologically, this series contains papers relating to programs developed by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society for teachers of American Indian students. The programs were intended to inspire and enhance the science and math teaching skills of educators and to provide enhancement for math and science programs. Correspondence, curriculum guides, sample lesson plans and schedules comprise the papers of this series.


Papers for intensive science and math training programs and scholarships for American Indian students comprise this series. Included are correspondence and curricula for these programs and materials relating to curriculum development. The series contains papers for local, regional and national science fairs. Searches for mathematically gifted American Indian students are also reflected in the papers. Planning, schedules and evaluation reports for the programs complete the series. The papers are arranged chronologically.


American Indian Science and Engineering Society Director Norbert Hill served on the board responsible for locating the National Museum of the American Indian on the Smithsonian campus in Washington, D.C. The papers in this series reflect his interest in such controversial issues as repatriation and collection development. The documents are arranged chronologically and include Hill's correspondence and speech transcripts as well as meeting minutes and reports of the board of directors.


This series comprises the various AISES publications used to communicate with members, supporters, and the public. The AISES Newsletter first published in 1979 continues as a multi-page quarterly publication. It contains a minimum of black and white photographs.

In 1985, AISES explored developing a full color magazine. They formed a publication board, and after favorable reaction by members and advertisers published the premiere issue in February 1986.

About the same time they began to move toward Winds of Change, AISES renamed their newsletter the Science Education Newsletter. Three issues were published in the folded page format before a return to the full page format used in the previous newsletter.


This series includes the personal papers of students applying for scholarships or various summer camps and training sessions. The information in these records contains personal data such as address, phone number, acceptance or denial in the program, recommendations, transcripts and health information. The papers are restricted until the year 2059.


Oversize posters advertising engineering events as well as the American Indian Science and Engineering Society meetings comprise this series.


The AISES audio-visual series is largely videotapes recorded at various national conferences. Videotapes of speakers, and slide shows converted to videotape form part of this series. Some classroom type lectures were recorded on topics including genetics, fetal alcohol syndrome, and the nervous system. Tapes are numbered by conference or event.


This series comprises floppy discs and their contents. All but one are 5.25 inch discs from the late 1980s and were created using WordStar™. By changing the suffix of a file to "WS7" it was possible to open the majority of the files on these discs using MicroSoft Word®. The contents of the files that were able to be opened [in 2009] were printed out, largely without any effort to format them. Many of the print-outs proved poorly formatted and awkwardly arranged due to the difference between fonts and sizes used during the creation of the documents and the default values of the program used to open the surviving files.

A screen shot of the contents of each disc is included in the folder along with the files that were able to be opened and printed from that particular disc. Dates on files vary considerably, and the accuracy of these dates cannot be verified in every case. When possible the date within the printed file has been used. If a backup file was available it was used to print from so as to leave the primary file unchanged. Primary files were copied and opened if there was no backup file available. The specific eight character filename is written on the first page and the pages of each file are paper-clipped together.

No attempt has been made to integrate or cross-reference these files with similar ones elsewhere in the collection.

SERIES 11 PHOTOGRAPHS 1931, 1981-1996 PHOTOBOX 1-4

This series comprises photographs documenting science fairs, conferences, outdoor activities, and teacher training efforts. There are color and black and white photographic prints and color slides.


  • 1976-1998


The collection is open for research with the exception of several boxes of student applications that are restricted until 2059.


Literary and copyrights - as appropriate - have been assigned to the Denver Public Library.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.


The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES, pronounced "aces") was founded in April 1977 by American Indian scientists, engineers, and educators. It consolidated two organizations, the American Indian Engineering Council and the National Society of Native American Engineers, Inc. Members of the two groups met for two days in Morrilton, Arkansas where they decided to merge to “improve the effectiveness of Indian scientists and engineers and to broaden the membership to include more people.”

Among the AISES founders were: George Thomas (Cherokee), from the Council of Energy Resource Tribes; Jim Shorty (Navajo), with the Native American Program in the College of Engineering at the University of New Mexico; Alfred Qöyawayma Colton (Hopi), employee of the Salt River Project, a power and water project based in Phoenix, Arizona; and A.T. “Andy” Anderson (Tuscarora-Mohawk-Cayuga), manager of Urban Affairs for Union Carbide.

The organization was first incorporated on June 27, 1977 in Oklahoma as the National Society of American Indian Engineers with George Thomas (Cherokee), Jerry Elliott (Osage), and Alex Labadie (Osage) as its Board of Directors. The name of the organization was formally changed to The American Indian Science and Engineering Society and on March 30, 1978, the Internal Revenue Service confirmed its non-profit status.

On September 13, 1978 in a meeting held in Washington D.C. the Phoenix, Arizona-based organization adopted by-laws and appointed officers. The first officers were: Al Qöyawayma Colton (Hopi), chairman; Jim Shorty (Navajo), vice-chairman; Carol Gardpipe (Passamaquoddy), secretary; and George Thomas (Cherokee), treasurer.

The AISES mission is to substantially increase the representation of American Indian and Alaskan Natives in engineering, science and related technology disciplines. In view of the high dropout rates and low college enrollment and graduation rates of American Indians compared with all other ethnic groups in the United States, along with severe under-representation of American Indians in the science and engineering fields, the goal of AISES was and remains “ create an organization that would identify and remove the barriers to academic success for Native students.” General Membership “is limited to persons of one-quarter Indian Blood or more. A degree in science, or associate degree with work experience, or professional registration is required.” A category called Special Members was available to those not qualified for general membership. In 1980, 89 general, 62 special and 129 student members combined for a total of 280 members; the total climbed to 409 in 1981, and 704 in 1982.

AISES offers financial, academic and cultural support to American Indians and Alaska Natives from middle school through graduate school, and professional development activities to enable teachers to work effectively with native students. AISES also develops culturally appropriate curricula and publications, and builds partnerships with tribes, schools, other non-profit organizations, corporations, foundations, and government agencies to realize its goals.

AISES Code of Conduct prohibits alcohol, illegal drugs and harassment. The code "is meant to reflect the ideals of our native communities by establishing an expectation that we agree to protect and promote the well-being and growth of all people."

In 1983, the Board turned day-to-day operation of AISES over to an Executive Director. Norbert Hill Jr. was hired and remained in the position for 15 years. During that time AISES offices were moved from Phoenix, Arizona to Boulder, Colorado where Hill had served as Director of American Indian Educational Opportunity Program at the University of Colorado.

Under Hill’s guidance, a full-color magazine, Winds of Change, replaced a quarterly newsletter in 1986 with a focus on career and educational advancement for native people. Articles highlight cross-cultural issues of interest to both native and non-native people. Since 1986, the magazine has served as a channel for information and ideas relevant to the needs and interests of both students and professionals. Winds of Change is published quarterly by AISES Publishing Inc., plus as an Annual College Guide for American Indians & Native Alaskans/Hawaiians. It is distributed to subscribers throughout the U.S., Canada, and several countries in Europe. It is also sent to educators, Indian tribes, state commissions, libraries in high schools, colleges, and universities. Coverage extends to Indian Health Service patient offices, hotels in or near Indian Country, and at relevant national conferences.

In 1998, Norbert Hill stepped down as Executive Director. He was replaced by Sandra Begay-Campbell (Navajo), and AISES moved its headquarters to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Everett Chavez (Santo Domingo Pueblo) was named Executive Director in 2000, and in 2003 the Board of Directors created the AISES Foundation. In 2004, Pamela Silas (Menominee-Oneida) was named Executive Director though her job title changed to Chief Executive Officer. In 2009 she leads a staff of fourteen in their Albuquerque, New Mexico offices and is responsible for development, events, finance information, and programs. AISES provides an active website to engage and inform members and the public.

Advisory councils take active roles in the AISES organization. They include: the Corporate Advisory Council, representing over 50 technological corporations; the Government Relations Council, representing over 60 federal and regional government agencies; the Professional Chapters Council; and the Council of Elders, who share their wisdom and guidance with AISES students and the organization.

AISES's Annual National Conference attracts the nation's brightest American Indian students, as well as professionals in the fields of science, engineering and technology. The three-day event includes a career fair with speakers, panel discussions, and workshops for students, teachers, and professionals, offering companies a unique forum for recruiting American Indian students and professionals. A Traditional Honors Banquet recognizes hundreds of AISES scholarship winners and their benefactors. Some 2,000 participants and more than 200 exhibit booths are part of the National Conference each year.

Every spring, one chapter in each of the seven AISES regions hosts a regional conference. Regional conferences provide an opportunity for college chapters, high schools, and professionals to receive updates on AISES programs, activities and upcoming events, and an opportunity for chapters within the region to communicate, network and share ideas. Each participating college chapter delivers an in-depth report on its completed activities and plans.

A yearly leadership conference brings together 100-150 invited college chapter student officers, chapter advisors, and selected AISES scholars who participate in the annual three-day conference.

AISES offers merit-based scholarships and internship programs. Scholarships are intended to defray some of the costs of tuition and other educational expenses, increasing access to higher education and improving college retention rates of members. AISES also administers five scholarship programs. AISES internships are intended to provide applied learning experiences through 10-week summer internships at various federal, tribal and private organizations. Internship provides environments for students to gain work experience, knowledge, workplace skills, and access to mentors and role models in specific science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

AISES took part in the development and siting of the National Museum of the American Indian on the Smithsonian campus in Washington, D.C. Awards are given annually to many students, members, and organizations. The Ely S. Parker Award is the highest honor the organization can convey and recognizes American Indians who have made significant long-term contributions in the sciences, mathematics, engineering, technology, health or related fields and who have served the American Indian community in an exemplary manner. Through this recognition, AISES develops an academy of role models for future generations to emulate. Norbert Hill Jr. received the award in 2008.

As of 2009, AISES has more than 2,000 active members, 49% of whom are college and graduate students, and 51% of whom are professionals. The organization boasted more than 10,000 alumni with 912 Sequoyah (lifetime) Fellows, 172 chartered college chapters, 14 professional chapters, and 103 K-12 affiliated schools impacting over 40,000 Native students. In all, members from over 200 Native Nations are represented within AISES. Chapters are located at over 150 colleges and universities throughout North America, including tribal colleges. The primary objective of chapters is to enrich the educational, service, and social needs of the chapter’s membership. Chapters emphasize education as a tool that will facilitate personal and professional growth opportunities for students through mentor programs, leadership training, scholarships, conference participation, and summer job opportunities.


61 Boxes


4 PhotoBoxes

6 AVBoxes

Language of Materials



Gift, Norbert S. Hill Jr., 1998.

This collection was the gift of Norbert S. Hill Jr., as representative for American Indian Science and Engineering Society, in 1998.

The National Historical Publication and Records Commission (NHPRC) provided partially funding for the processing of this collection.


Number of Boxes: 61

Oversize: 1 OVFF

Number of Photoboxes: 4 PhotoBox

Audio-Visual: 6 Boxes

Floppy discs: 1 Box




Ann Brown and Roger Dudley

October 2009


Ellen Zazzarino

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository

10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States