In 1960, the All Indian Pueblo Council envisioned a school that would serve the Native American Community and through the collective efforts with other tribal leaders, public officials and interested citizens, construction began ten years later. Dedication ceremonies were held on August 21, 1971 and on September 16, 1971 the Institute officially opened its doors for classes.
Operating initially on an open-entry, open-exit system of individualized training, SIPI was awarded a citation for Excellence of Service in 1974. By 1975, SIPI received accreditation status at the Certificate Level by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges (NCA). During the fall of 1981 SIPI celebrated its tenth anniversary and received continuing accreditation status by NCA.
The beginning of 1982 saw SIPI threatened with closure because of the federal government's efforts to decrease spending. SIPI responded by creating a more cost effective program, a traditional semester system was implemented beginning with Fall Semester 1982. The students and National Indian Community responded with a major movement of public support that resulted in Congressional action in March 1983 to mandate SIPI'S continuing operations. In May of 1983, SIPI held its first commencement exercises.
In June 1991 the SIPI Board of Regents developed an expanded 20-Year mission and direction for the Institute. The result of this planning was Omnibus Resolution No.149 - SIPI Transition Plan 2000. This plan required the school to achieve community college accreditation, and to develop the training infrastructure needed for advanced technical instruction and university transfer degrees. Two years later, SIPI achieved community college status on August 6, 1993.
During the 1999-2000 academic year, SIPI completed a comprehensive evaluation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. As a result of this comprehensive evaluation, SIPI was recommended for ten-year accreditation, with the next comprehensive evaluation scheduled for 2009-10.
The College is continuing to develop additional post-secondary training programs that are specific to the needs of industry and the National Indian Community. The College looks forward to celebrating its 30th anniversary September 2001.