Morongo Band awards $40K in scholarships to Native students

Ish-Kaysh Tripp

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians awarded $40,000 in scholarships to four Native American students in California.

Each recipient of the Rodney T. Mathews Jr. Scholarship received $10,000 to further their education. This year's winners are: Shanice Britton of the Round Valley Indian Tribes; Shayna McCullough of the Yurok Tribe; Cara Owings of the Tolowa De-ni’ Nation; and Ish-Kaysh Tripp of the Yurok Tribe and the Karuk Tribe.

Shanice Britton

“From a young age, I decided that I would graduate from college despite any obstacles, but paying for college has been the most difficult obstacle to overcome,” said recipient Britton, a biological science major at UC Davis. “Fortunately, the generous scholarship support from the Morongo tribe has given me the opportunity to continue my education. I will continue to work hard toward my degree and return home and help my tribal community.”

McCullough is studying social work with a minor in Indian education at Humboldt State. She plans to get a master’s degree and become a youth specialist in her community.

Shayna McCullough

"Morongo has not only helped me but also my family, my tribe and my tribal communities," McCullough said.

Owings also attends Humboldt State and is working towards her master's in business administration. She wants to improve economic development opportunities in Indian Country.

Cara Owings

"The continued support from the Morongo Band of Mission Indians throughout my academic journey has provided me with the energy and encouragement that I needed to continue on with my education," Owings said.

Tripp, another Humboldt State student, is majoring in environmental resources with a minor in Native American studies. He plans to work in tribal and public land management issues.

“Growing up in ceremony, I have come to love my peoples’ traditions. With the right education, I can help them flourish. I very much appreciate the Morongo Band of Mission Indians' investment in my college education and career goals, and I look forward to giving back to California tribal communities." Tripp said.

The money comes from the Rodney T. Mathews Jr. Scholarship. The program was named in honor of a tribal member who served as a judge on the reservation for more than a decade prior to his death in 2003.

The scholarship is open to any enrolled member of a federally recognized California tribe. Since its inception, the tribe has given $380,000 to nearly 40 students across the state.

“Native Americans continue to face challenges in acquiring a college education and they remain one of the most underrepresented groups in colleges and universities,” Chairman Robert Martin said. “Through our Rodney T. Mathews Jr. Scholarships, Morongo has provided $380,000 to nearly 40 Indian students across California to counteract those trends. It’s especially gratifying to see so many of our past scholarship recipients returning to tribal communities to use their new skills and education to improve Native American lives.”

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