Preview story: A $750,000 gift from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation will fund hundreds of student scholarships in Sacramento State’s Native American Studies program.
Tribal Chairman Anthony Roberts will present an oversized check to University President Robert S. Nelsen and Annette Reed, professor and director of Native American Studies, at a luncheon Wednesday, March 6, in The WELL's Terrace Suite on campus.
“For individuals, families, our country, and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, education is the foundation for our future," Roberts says. "That future rests with our youth and children. Through education, we can help our next generation identify interests, nurture talents and passions, and develop as effective leaders in business, our communities and in government."
Ceremonies will begin at 11:25 a.m. with opening remarks and the check presentation. Native American Studies students will talk about the impact that scholarships have made on their education.
The Native American Studies Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation Scholarships are available to all undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of major. One of the requirements is for students to have completed a Native American Studies course during the year.
The tribe’s gift will allow the program to offer minimum $2,000 scholarships to individual recipients each semester, a significant increase from the current $1,000 recipients may receive per semester.
A goal of scholarships is to encourage students to learn about and to gain a greater understanding of California’s native people, Reed says.
“It’s touching and powerful that a California native nation invests in and believes so much in the education of Sacramento State students that they make a donation with life-changing implications,” Reed says. “We have students who are having a difficult time financially, so when that check comes in, they’re able to get through the semester.”
Students can minor in Native American Studies or pursue a Native American Studies concentration that will lead to a bachelor of arts in Ethnic Studies.
The $750,000 donation is not the first gift to Sac State from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.
The tribe’s involvement with Sac State dates to 2001, when the then-Rumsey Indian Rancheria of Wintun Indians of California helped with funding for the Californian Indian Conference held at Sacramento State. In 2006, the tribe gave $250,000 for scholarships and support to the Native American Studies program.
The Wintun people have made their home in California’s Capay Valley for thousands of years. The tribe operates Cache Creek Casino Resort, the Yocha Dehe Golf Club, and the Séka Hills Olive Mill & Tasting Room, all near the Yolo County community of Brooks. – Dixie Reid