The Morongo Band of Mission Indians awarded a local Native American student of the Susanville Indian Rancheria, Deserea Langley, who attends UC Davis, a $10,000 scholarship.
Langley was one of four recipients awarded the 14th annual Rodney T. Matthews Jr. Scholarship program for California Indians for 2018. As stated in the application, the scholarship was established to assist California Indian students in pursuing their educational goals through the granting of competitive and meritorious based financial scholarships.
For the 2018-2019 cycle, the scholarship was awarded to four students, each pursuing an undergraduate, graduate or vocational education. This year’s recipients came from UC Davis, UCLA, Northern Arizona University and Academy of Art University.
Langley attends UC Davis where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Native American studies. Her doctoral research will be the first comprehensive history of the Susanville Indian Rancheria and the implementation of the Dawes Act in northern California. She plans to be an educational counselor at a tribal college or state university to help educate future leaders.
“I’m so thankful for tribal communities like Morongo supporting student success,” Langley told the organization upon receiving the scholarship. “It is important to have educated Native Americans for the future of our culture, communities and tribal governments.”
The scholarship program honors the late Rodney T. Matthews Jr., a Morongo tribal member and Hastings Law School graduate who passed away in 2004 after serving as a judge pro tem for more than a decade.
Scholarship applicants are considered based on their academic success and community service. Candidates must be full-time students at an accredited college or university; complete 60 hours with a designated California Indian agency; and be actively involved in the Native American community.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, American Indians and Alaskan Natives comprise less than 1 percent of the nation’s college students. These students are often left out of postsecondary research and data reporting due to small sample size.
What data is available from the Postsecondary National Policy Institute indicates only 10 percent of Native Americans attain a bachelor’s degree and only 17 percent attain associate’s degrees, making the case for a more responsive system to the specific needs of these students.
According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Native Americans hold fewer bachelor’s degrees than any other ethnic group in the U.S. and according to research from PNPI are more likely to need and receive federal financial assistance than white students. Native American students are also less likely to have family who has attended college.