25, 2004, Morongo Indian Reservation, Banning, California
Creating a new program designed to provide financial support for
California Native American students statewide, the Morongo Band
of Mission Indians has launched a scholarship program unique in
the state. Three Indian students will be the first recipients
of this innovative effort when they are presented with $30,000
in scholarship funds by the Morongo tribal council today.
tribes have created scholarship programs to assist their own members
and there are some federal scholarship programs, however Morongo
is the first tribe to create an academic scholarship program available
to any enrolled member of a California Indian tribe who is a full-time
student at an accredited college or university. Applicants are also
required to have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75; must complete
60 hours with a designated California Indian community agency; and
be actively involved in the Native American community.
is such a serious priority for all Native Americans that we felt
it was important to make scholarship funds accessible to all qualified
Indian students no matter what tribe they were from, said
Morongo tribal chairman Maurice Lyons. Education opens the
door to having choices in life and we wanted to help open the doors
to tribal youth from all California tribes.
to Morongo scholarship administrator Bill Cornelius, seventeen applications
from thirteen different tribes were received by the tribe when it
published its scholarship application in late February with applications
due April 1, 2004.
recipients -- Karan D. Kolb-Williamson, a member of the Rincon Band
of Luiseño Indians enrolled at the University of Phoenix;
Ruby Tuttle, a member of the Yurok Tribe enrolled at Humboldt State
University; and Ki-Shan D. Lara, a member of the Hupa Valley Tribe
enrolled at Arizona State University were selected as the
first recipients to receive the Morongo funds.
is making education possible for Indian tribes, explained
Lyons. Right now we are graduating more high school students
than ever before. We operate a HeadStart program for pre-schoolers,
provide tutoring programs for elementary and high school students;
offer adult education classes and university degrees through a scholarship
program for tribal members. Establishing this academic scholarship
program for a broader spectrum of Native Americans seemed like the
logical next step.
Band of Luiseño Indians tribal member Karan Kolb-Williamson
is working on a business degree at the University of Phoenix so
she can continue her work in social services with Indian Child Welfare
Act program. Yurok tribal member Ruby Tuttle is studying molecular
biology at Humboldt State University with the goal of becoming a
doctor. Hupa Valley tribal member Ki-Shan Lara is pursuing an educational
degree at Arizona State University so she can work to restore and
protect Native American languages.
presentation of scholarships will take place at 10:30 a.m. during
a formal session of the Morongo Tribal Council at the tribal hall
located just north of the tribal administration at 11581 Potrero
Rodney T. Mathews, Jr. Memorial Scholarship program is named in
honor of Morongo tribal member Rodney T. Mathews Lyons who passed
away last year. Mathews was a graduate of Hastings Law School and
served as a judge pro tem for more than a decade.
provides up to $10,000 for the 2004-2005 academic years and was
established to assist California Indian students with the pursuit
of their education through the granting of competitive and meritorious
based financial scholarships. The fund provides three awards of
$10,000 each to support California Indian students who want to continue
their education. Scholarships are granted to eligible applicants
on a yearly basis and each award is for a 12-month period, renewable
for a second year pending demonstration of exceptional progress.
Deadline for the 2005 cycle is Tuesday, April 1, 2005 and the application
can be downloaded at www.morongonation.org