Native American High School Students Sample University Life

UCR’s annual Gathering of the Tribes encourages academic success, consideration of college degree

Five young men singing

Albert Rodriguez (l-r), Paakuma Tawinat, Joshua Gonzales, Brandon Duran and Randy Plummer sing Cahuilla bird songs during the 2012 Gathering of the Tribes.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Thirty Native American high school students will get a taste of college life when they arrive at the University of California, Riverside on June 23 for the Gathering of the Tribes, the longest-running program of its kind in Southern California.

The eight-day event, which began at UCR in 2005, invites Native American students to experience life in a residence hall and the classroom, and provides information about admissions and financial aid requirements and deadlines.

“We want them to see that the university is an exciting place, and encourage them to do well in high school and consider going to college,” said Cliff Trafzer, professor of history and the Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs at UCR. “We need future American Indian leaders going to college.”

Parents will drop off their students on June 23 and participate in an orientation lunch.

Throughout the week students will attend classes in video production and creative writing, participate in various exercise and recreation activities, and hear from motivational speakers, career counselors, and advisors on how to apply for admission to college and financial aid. One activity added to the program last year is practice writing personal essays based on prompts contained in the UC application.

Students in a classroom

Anissia Guzman (l-r, foreground), LeeAna Salas, Briana Valadez and Gabrielle Beeler listen to a lecture. This year’s Gathering of the Tribes begins June 23.

A majority of the students come from Southern California, but in the past have included others from Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Arizona and Alaska, said Joshua Gonzales, director of Native American Student Programs at UCR.

“More than 90 percent of these students do go on to some form of college,” Gonzales said.

Gathering of the Tribes is sponsored by Native American Student Programs and the Native American Education Program, a UCR chancellor’s initiative intended to encourage American Indian students and parents to embrace higher education.


Media Contact

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Additional Contacts

Joshua Gonzales
Tel: (951) 827-4143

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