The American Indian College Fund, with generous support from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, published an invaluable tool for Native American high school students seeking higher education. Native Pathways: A College-Going Guidebook provides content related to how to get into college, choose a school, pay for it, and what to expect the first year in a way that speaks to Native cultures and experiences as students consider attending college.
In addition to content specific to student needs and culture, Native artists and designers contributed to the book. Jonathon Nelson, a member of the Navajo nation from Hogback, New Mexico who currently resides in Denver, designed the cover, titled, “Kindred Mocs.” Nelson’s work is featured at www.badwinds.com. Photos by Matika Wilbur, from the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes of Washington, were included. Wilbur is the creator of Project 562, a project dedicated to photographing the more than 562 federally recognized tribes in the United States. Amanda Cheromiah, who is Pueblo from Laguna, also provided photos.
The guidebook was created as part of the Native Pathways to College Program, also funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The College Fund launched the program to meet the needs of tribal communities and in response to the college-going and completion crisis among Native American and Alaska Native students. Research shows the national rate of all students going to college within six months of graduating from high school is 70%. For Native American and Alaska Native students, those numbers are closer to 20%.
The College Fund knows that education improves the lives of individuals, their families, and entire communities, yet merely providing scholarships to help students pay for college is not enough for Native students to succeed. To create a college-going culture, the College Fund initiated the program, working with high school students, first-year, students, and two-year college students seeking to continue their education at a four-year school. With a $2.5 million grant renewal from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the College Fund will be able to continue efforts to increase college access and success.
Students, school counselors, and others can download the book for free on the College Fund’s web site. Hard copies may be available for some high schools. Please send an email to [email protected] for more information.