California Indian Nations College Opens Establishes Degree Program in Partnership w/ Local Colleges

Published April 9, 2019

PALM DESERT, Calif. — California Indian Nations College (CINC) announces its founding and success of its first two semesters. CINC’s Spring 2019 enrollment is at more than 40 students. The college was established through a philanthropic $3 million gift from the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians.

CINC partnered with local colleges and universities to begin offering accredited courses to Native American and non-Native students. Partners include College of the Desert, UC Riverside, and Cal State San Bernardino. CINC is located at the University of California Riverside’s Palm Desert Graduate Center. UCR generously sponsored administrative offices and leases classroom spaces.

“Our mission is to focus on encouraging higher education for Native Americans and non-Native students,” said Darrell Mike, Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians chairman. “Native American enrollment in higher education has dropped over the years; our goal is to prevent that from continuing by offering students the chance to learn and grow in a comfortable and welcoming environment.”

Though decades in the making, work on the college’s founding began in earnest in 2015 when Theresa Mike, the visionary, organized meetings with tribal people and academics from Southern California. In 2017, the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians chartered CINC and in April 2018, provided seed funding. CINC held its first term in Fall 2018 and its second semester began in Spring 2019. Students enrolled at CINC can earn associate degrees and/or transfer to a four-year institution. CINC is actively recruiting both students and faculty.

“Our ability to progress with the development of this College from ground zero is due to our highly qualified and dedicated team,” said Celeste Townsend, CINC Interim President. “We’ve hired 11 administrative staff and faculty, and we’ve partnered with several of our local colleges to help our Native students achieve academic excellence and obtain degrees. Five years from now, we hope to have 200 or more students enrolled.”

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