NWIC grew from the Lummi Indian School of Aquaculture, founded in 1973, a single-purpose training program developed to prepare technicians for employment in Indian-owned and operated fish and shellfish hatcheries throughout the United States and Canada.
In 1983, the Lummi Indian Business Council recognized the need for a more comprehensive post-secondary institution for tribal members, and the college was chartered as Lummi Community College, an Indian-controlled, comprehensive two-year college, designed to serve the post-secondary educational needs of Indian people living in the Pacific Northwest. In June of 1988, Lummi Community College was approved as a candidate for accreditation by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NWASC) and, on January 20, 1989, in acknowledgement of its wider mandate to serve Native people through the Northwest, Lummi Community College changed its name to the Northwest Indian College.
Northwest Indian College was granted accreditation at the associate level by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), effective September 1993. In 2010, NWIC became accredited at the baccalaureate level and now offers four bachelor’s degrees. The College’s educational programs have been approved by the US Department of Education, Veteran’s Administration, and the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board for the administration of financial assistance for eligible student. Northwest Indian College is a member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the American Association of Community Colleges, and the American Council on Education.
NWIC hiring practices include adherence to the Indian Preference Act (Title 25, U.S. Code Section 473). NWIC supports and provides equal opportunity employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or genetic information.