Morongo Band awards $30K in scholarships to three Native students

From left: Ty’ithreeha Allen, Raymond LeBeau and Gabriella ‘Stella’ Jarnaghan. Photos courtesy Morongo Band of Mission Indians

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians awarded $30,000 in scholarships for three Native American college students in California.

Ty’ithreeha Allen, a member of the Yurok Tribe; Gabriella ‘Stella’ Jarnaghan, a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe; and Raymond LeBeau, a member of the Pit River Tribe, each received $10,000 from the tribe. The money comes from the Rodney T. Mathews Jr. Scholarship, which was named in honor of a Morongo citizen who served as a judge on the reservation for more than a decade prior to his death in 2004.

“The Rodney T. Mathews Jr. Scholarship at Morongo was launched specifically to help reverse the trends that have left Native Americans as the most underrepresented group in colleges and universities,” Chairman Robert Martin said in a press release. “Students like this year’s recipients will be the tribal leaders of the future, and we are pleased to be helping them acquire the education and skills they need to guide and improve tribal communities for the next generation.”

Allen is a sophomore at Humboldt State University, where she is studying child development and Indian education. She looks up to her aunt -- who also received a scholarship from the tribe -- as a role model.

"I remember my auntie getting the scholarship when I was a young girl and I looked up to her," Allen said. "I saved as much as I could for college but this obviously will allow me to pursue my educational goals.”

Jarnaghan, another sophomore at Humboldt State, is studying business administration. She hopes to start her own business and help her people become more self-sufficient.

“I’m beyond grateful to Morongo,” Jarnaghan said. “The scholarship has taken a lot of stress of me for the upcoming year as it basically covered by tuition for both semesters. It has really motivated me to do my best.”

LeBeau is a junior at the University of California Santa Cruz, where he is studying philosophy and the environment. He wants to help tribes with land use and environmental issues.

“The work that I want to do in the future will not just pertain to my tribe but to all indigenous people,” LeBeau said. “I know this scholarship is competitive and receiving support from Morongo makes me feel good and empowered. It shows me that I’m progressing and following the right path.”

The Rodney T. Mathews Jr. Scholarship, is open to any enrolled member of a federally recognized California tribe. Since its inception, the tribe has awarded $410,000 to 43 students across the state.

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