I am posting this under manifest destiny and not parallel indigenous struggles because of what is going to be taught and why it has to be taught:Plans for new tribal college unveiled at Sacramento Indian Conference
The leader of the American Indian tribe that runs the Cache Creek Casino Resort in Yolo County on Thursday said his nation and others plan to open a new, nonprofit tribal college in the Sacramento region by 2014.
Marshall McKay, chairman of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, announced the plan at the 28th annual California Indian Conference and Gathering at California State University, Sacramento. He said more than 40 California Indian nations already have endorsed the tribal college, which has raised more than $800,000, including $290,000 from Goldman Sachs and a $150,000 pledge from Seven Post Investment Office of San Francisco, according to its website, at www.californiatribalcollege.com
“Our strength depends upon educating our next generations in the history, language and government of our tribes,” McKay said in his keynote speech kicking off the three-day conference. “A third of our native population is under 18. They hold the future of our families and tribal sovereignty in their hands, and every Native American child needs and deserves a culturally relevant educational experience.”
He said the Yocha Dehe tribe, whose casino is in the Capay Valley hamlet of Brooks, has spearheaded the drive to build a college to serve the more than 130 Indian tribes in California. “In this great state, where we have the largest population of Native Americans, there is not one functioning tribal college,” McKay said. More than 723,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives live in California, according to the 2010 census.
McKay said California Tribal College will offer undergraduate degrees and certificate programs in tribal government, and emphasize courses in culture, language, arts, economic development, policy, education and government. “Just as we are alive, our art is alive – the language of art is the language that needs no interpretation and can serve as a cultural bridge between cultures,” he said.
He chairs an interim board of regents that includes four other prominent members of Yocha Dehe along with representatives from the Little River Band of Pomo Indians, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians. A feasibility study is underway to identify a permanent name and location, McKay said. “Northern California would be a logical location; we have a major airport here in Sacramento and access to real estate.”
There’s a great need among Northern California nations for a college dedicated to preserving language and culture, said Marilyn Delgado, director of cultural resources for Yocha Dehe and interim director of the new college, who is exploring whether to offer online classes during the period until the campus opens. If everything goes according to schedule, a brick-and-mortar campus will open in 2014, said Joely Proudfit of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, who is leading the feasibility study.
D-Q University – a junior college outside Davis founded in 1971 – lost its accreditation and was shut down in 2005 after much in-fighting and financial troubles.
“We want a functioning tribal college actually run by the tribes in California,” said Tishmall Turner, tribal liaison for California State University, San Marcos. California Tribal College will focus on undergraduate students, where the need is greatest, said Turner, an at-large regent for the new college. “The number of Native American youth attending California colleges has declined over the last decade – our goal is to service as many as possible.”
Since Proposition 209 passed in 1996, eliminating affirmative action in California’s public institutions, the number of California Indian freshmen attending a University of California school has fallen by 12 percent, even as the number of California Indian high school graduates has grown by about 35 percent, Bee research shows.
In the last century, California Indians turned the tide “from near-extinction to survival, and for some, even prosperity,” McKay said. “Not all is well yet in Indian country ... the death rate from preventable diabetes is four times greater than the U.S. population, the Indian teen rate for illicit drug use is twice as high, and Indian family poverty is three times the national rate.”
The new college will ensure that native youths never forget the price paid by their ancestors and how close they came to being wiped out, McKay told the crowd. “Before the Europeans, an estimated 300,000 Native Americans speaking more than 150 distinct languages lived within the borders of California. By the time my mother was born at the turn of the 20th century, this population had been decimated by disease, loss of habitat, enslavement, starvation and outright murder, and was reduced to approximately 17,000.”
Tribal children were dragged from their homes “and imprisoned in boarding schools where their languages and traditions were literally beaten out of them,” said McKay, whose ancestors were forced off their ancestral lands in 1907 and placed on the federally created Rumsey Rancheria.
The CSUS Indian Conference could serve as a blueprint for the new college’s curriculum. Panels and exhibits include Nisenan petroglyphs of the Sacramento Valley; the impact of mission life on natives; the forced adoption of native youths into non-native families; native medicines and resource management; the repatriation of native remains; the federal recognition process; and the California tribes that are still fighting for federal recognition.
For more information, visit www.californiaindianconference.org
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