Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

California's Only Tribal College Still Struggling after 35 Years

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

California's Only Tribal College Still Struggling after 35 Years

Article excerpt

DAVIS, CALIF.

Thirty-five years after a group of American Indians and Mexican Americans scaled a barbed-wire fence to occupy an old Army communications site west of Davis, supporters are celebrating the anniversary of D-Q University, California's only tribal college.

But D-Q is as troubled this year as at any time in its turbulent history, with leadership fights and sit-ins by students trying to keep the college open.

Thirty-five years ago, the site had been declared surplus property, and the government planned to give it to the nearby University of California, Davis for use in research programs on rice and primates. But protesters climbed the fence before dawn on Nov. 3, 1970, set up a teepee and refused to leave until they got the land.

Last year the tribal college lost accreditation and funding, and closed during the spring because of a court battle over its control. The college reopened this fall with 60 students.

It's now being run by Art Apodaca, who has returned to guide the college he helped start.

Apodaca, now 66, recalls removing his pea coat to cover the barbed wire and boosting other protesters over the fence at about 4:45 a. …

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