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The mission of SIP is to advocate for the psychological well-being of American Indians and other Indigenous peoples and to advance knowledge pertaining to Indigenous psychology. 


  • Create a forum where SIP members can network and support each other.

  • Provide outreach and mentorship to American Indian psychology students.

  • Advance the understanding of the psychology of American Indian people.

  • Further the development of research methods and models of treatment and intervention that are ethically and culturally appropriate for American Indian people.

  • Contribute to the scientific understanding of features of ethnicity, culture, and class among American Indian people.

  • Promote adequate education and training related to American Indian people.

  • Facilitate a professional exchange concerning relevant policy, practice, and research related to American Indian people at the annual SIP convention and beyond.


We can not determine the exact date, but our elders confirm that SIP was initiated in the early 1970s and became official in 1978. Over the past 45 years, SIP's efforts to support the American Indian community through Indigenous Psychology have expanded and continue to grow.


Carolyn Attneave, Ph.D. (Delaware and Cherokee) and Joseph Trimble, Ph.D. (Lakota), had the first conversation in Oklahoma City in the early 1970s to establish a Network of Psychologists to support American Indians' need for culturally competent psychological services. They established an American Indian interest group in collaboration with the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), Division 9 of the American Psychological Association (APA). A few years later, with the help of Robert Ryan (Lakota), the White Cloud Center's director, in 1977, Dr. Attneave launched the Network of Indian Psychologists (NIP) newsletter through the institution of the Oregon Health Sciences University campus in Portland, Oregon.

In 1978, the Network of Indian Psychologists (NIP) was formalized with a meeting held at The White Cloud Center. They were dissatisfied with the name NIP because they believed it contributed to perpetuating the stereotype of an inebriated Indian. "After much discussion, the Society of Indian Psychologists (SIP) was chosen as the name," Robert Ryan recalled. "L. David Jacobs, Ph.D. (Mohawk), went to his office and drew the logo, which is still used today. It was either the spring or summer of 1978." (Ryan, 2023). SIP was able to send its first representative to the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs, Loye Ryan (Cheyenne River Sioux), in 1978, just as the APA was establishing an Ethnic Minority emphasis.

Damian Vraniak, Ph.D., organized the first conference of American Indian Psychologists and Graduate Students at Utah State University (USU) in Logan, Utah, in 1987, with approximately 30 participants (Gray, 2012). Under the nurturing guidance of Carolyn Barcus, EdD (Blackfeet), this conference continued to grow and develop, with the addition of a retreat before the conference as a time of coming together and rejuvenation (Gray, 2012). This conference, held every June at USU, is now known as the SIP Annual Convention and Retreat. Earlier this year, in June 2023, members of SIP gathered on the same campus where their first annual convention took place 36 years ago, thanks to the efforts of Melissa Tehee, Ph.D./J.D. (Cherokee). Many of our members were able to attend in person, and those who could not travel were able to participate virtually. 

Today, we have 432 members, with 196 of them being students (45 percent). Our members can be found all over the United States and Canada, working in a wide variety of settings, including but not limited to educational institutions, hospitals, research labs, government agencies, private businesses, and APA and its many affiliated chapters and societies. 

Gray, J. (2012, November 1). Society of Indian Psychologists: Honoring the ancestors, strengthening the future. Communique.

R. Ryan (Personal Communication 2023, July 19).

D. Foster (Personal Communication 2023, July 19).

J. Trimble (Personal Communication 2023, July 20).

Last updated July 2023

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