Billie Jo Kipp, the new president of the California Tribal College, with Leland Kintner, the prior president. Photo: California Tribal College

California Tribal College names Blackfeet Nation citizen Billie Jo Kipp as president

Billie Jo Kipp, the newly named president of the California Tribal College, has a lot on her plate as the institution builds a bigger future.

Kipp, a citizen of the Blackfeet Nation, plans to expand programs, develop curricula and earn accreditation for the new institution. Then there's the matter of establishing a campus, probably somewhere in the Sacramento area.

But Kipp, who has an extensive background in tribal college and Indian education, is up to the task. She comes to California from the Blackfeet Community College in Montana, where she served as president for six years.

“Developing the California Tribal College is an incredible undertaking,” Kipp said in a press release. “So much has already been achieved, and we will launch the CTC as a valuable resource for California’s Native population."

California boasts more than 100 tribes and the largest population of Native Americans in the United States. Yet it's been without a tribal college since the demise of D-Q University more than a decade ago.

Though it lacks a physical presence at this point, the California Tribal College is already changing the picture by offering certificate programs in tribal leadership, governance and related areas. The institution, which was established in 2009, also boasts the support of 62 tribes in California and 7 national and state Indian organizations.

"“Having served as CTC president for several years, I am proud of the progress made to date through our certificate programs," said Leland Kintner, who held the post prior to Kipp's arrival.

"Now, the time is right to move ahead, developing curricula in the areas of study tribal leaders identified as most important to their citizens and governments, and building a college and campus that speak to Native American students," added Kintner, who serves as chairman of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, one of the original champions of the effort.

As it builds its future, the California Tribal College will be taking part in 50th annual Native American Day on Friday. The event takes place on the south steps of the State Capitol Building in Sacramento.