In a program designed to provide financial support for California Native
American students statewide, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians provides a
scholarship program unique in the state. Seven Indian students will be the
recipients of this innovative effort this Friday when the Morongo tribal
council presents them with $70,000 in scholarship funds.
The presentation of scholarships will take place at a 2:00 p.m.luncheon at the tribal hall located just north of the tribal administration at 11581 Potrero Road. The tribe will also be honoring nine members and descendants who have been awarded their college degrees.
Many 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 only required to have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75
They must complete 60 hours with a designated
California Indian community agency; and be actively involved in the Native American community.
“Education 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 Robert Martin. “Education opens the door to having choices in life and we wanted to help open the doors to tribal youth from all California
According to Morongo scholarship administrator Curt Walch, the tribe received more than thirty applications from more than a dozen tribes when it published its scholarship application in March.
Seven recipients were selected to receive the Morongo funds:
Wendy Schlater, a member of the La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians, is studying holistic health science. Hillary Eagle-Eye Renick, a member of the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians, is enrolled in the University of Oregon’s College of Law. Theodore Aswet Taylor, a member of the Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, wants to become a commercial airline pilot. William Madrigal, Jr., a member of the Cahuilla Band of Indians, is pursuing studies in anthropology and archaeology.
Tabitha Whipple, a member of the North Fork Mono Tribe of California, is studying astronomy and physics at San Diego State University. Amber Gibbens Tyner, a member of the Yurok Tribe is aiming to become a school psychologist. Christina Ann Brown, a member of the Bishop Paiute Tribe, is pursuing a medical degree from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine.
“Self-reliance is making education possible for Indian tribes,” explained Walch.
“Right now Morongo is 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.”
The Rodney T. Mathews, Jr. Memorial Scholarship program is named in honor of Morongo tribal member Rodney T. Mathews Lyons who passed away in 2003. Mathews was a graduate of Hastings Law School and served as a judge pro tem for more than a decade.
The program provides up to $10,000 per student each academic year.
It was established to assist California Indian students with the pursuit of their education through the granting of competitive and meritorious based financial scholarships. 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.
In addition, the tribe will be honoring tribal members and descendants who have completed their college degrees. These include Carolyn Lorraine Horsman who obtained a Bachelors of Science Degree in Information Systems from the University of Redlands; Kim Schoenborn, who received a Bachelors of Science Degree in Nursing from Loma Linda University; Dennis Miller, who received a Masters of Arts Degree in Business from Norte Dam De Nemur University; Michael Gonzales who was awarded a Diplome in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts from the California Culinary Academy; Michelle Mathews, an Associates of Arts Degree in Business from Western International University; Jeffery Bisonette, a Bachelors of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Portland; Lauren Miller, an Associates of Arts Degree in Geography from Irvine Valley College; Amanda Marquez, an Associates of Arts Degree in Nursing from the College of the Desert; and Lisa Buenting, a Masters of Science Degree in Nursing from Loma Linda University.
Morongo Band of Mission Indians