About the Institute

Western Washington University is situated on the ancestral homelands of the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe. Coast Salish Peoples have lived in the Salish Sea basin from time immemorial.

Given our placement on the edge of the Salish Sea, in Coast Salish territories, and near the international border, Western Washington University created the Salish Sea Institute to raise awareness and protection for the Salish Sea.

At the Salish Sea Institute, we work to share knowledge across disciplines and borders.

We created a minor in Salish Sea Studies to teach students about the Salish Sea’s history, ecology, culture, and management complexities.

We convene workshops and produce reports to share science and management strategies among the community of people off campus who work to protect the Salish Sea. The Institute was formerly the administrative home for the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference.

The Institute works towards WWU’s goal to “advance a deeper understanding of engagement with place” that can be found in Western's strategic plan.

As Institute staff, we continue to learn from knowledge holders about 10,000 years of knowing and are indebted to all who help us along this path. We continue to ask questions and seek solutions to move towards a more equitable system of learning on and off campus, and collectively caring for the Salish Sea.

A person in a purple shirt with long hair speaking in front of a projector
A large group of people standing in a half circle on a sunny day near the water
Students listening to a speaker near the water on a gravely beach