Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians Pledges $9 Million to Tribal Colleges Initiative
The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians announced Thursday that it is committing more than $9 million to support the California Indian Nations College. The educational effort aims to become the first self-contained, fully accredited tribal college in California in decades, according to a statement released by the tribe.
Tribal Chairman Darrell Mike’s announcement on Thursday said the primary mission is to build a strong foundation for new generations and this donation is aligned with that vision.
“We believe that education is the foundation for success in life,” said Mike, adding that “CINC provides a springboard for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students seeking opportunities that can best be achieved with a college degree and the knowledge that comes with it.”
The donation represents the largest funding pledge to the CINC since its inception nearly five years ago, according to a tribal statement. The Twenty-Nine Palms of Mission Indians Band says it has already donated $3.75 million to the project and has now pledged to spend $1.9 million a year for the next three years. The total donation is $9.45 million.
Mike said he hopes other regional tribes with students enrolled in tribal colleges will step up to match this commitment.
CINC was established with the goal of providing accredited two-year Associate of Arts degrees. A statement from the tribe says the college prepares graduates for careers and other educational opportunities at colleges and universities nationwide.
“Through well-rounded coursework that incorporates Indigenous culture, the revitalization of Indigenous languages, and the reinstitutionalization of traditional Native American values, CINC seeks to educate students in areas such as business and hospitality administration, Native American, film, communications, philosophy, and sociology, among more than 20 learning pathways,” the statement said.
A statement from the tribe says the College received its initial capital in early 2018 after being chartered by the tribe in September 2017.
The funding enabled the college to quickly build staff and capacity. The College taught its first courses in the fall of 2018 in cooperation with UC Riverside Extension. An educational partnership has also been formed with the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, to allow all California Indian Nations College classes to be fully transferable.
The Twenty-Nine Palms of Mission Indians band are a Chemeheuvi people whose traditional lands include parts of California, Utah, Arizona and southern Nevada. In 1867, a group of Chemehuevi moved to the Mara oasis in Twentynine Palms. The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians are their descendants. Today, the tribe’s lands consist of two reservations, located near the town of Twentynine Palms and the town of Coachella.
For more information about the California Indian Nations College, visit www.cincollege.org.
For more information about the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, its culture, heritage and traditions, visit www.29palmstribe.org.