May 14, 2013
By Kyla Calvert
American Indians have some of the lowest high school and college graduation rates of any ethnic group in the United States. One local university is hoping to reach more American Indian students in San Diego County.
Each year, California State University San Marcos honors its American Indian graduates in a small ceremony outside the school’s California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center. The center is the only one of its kind in the state. The center supports CSU San Marcos American Indian students and conducts research and builds relationships with San Diego County tribes.
At the center’s graduation ceremony this year, the school also got to unveil Cal State’s newest How to Access College brochure, the first translated into one of California’s indigenous languages.
The brochure outlines what students have to do to be eligible for Cal State in Luiseño, the language of the tribe indigenous to the San Marcos area. Joely Proudfit heads the center and worked with Cal State on the brochure.
“It really tells the world that we’re still here, our culture is still here,” she said. “The pictures are contemporary pictures of K-12 and current college students and alumni.”
CSU San Marcos offers classes in Luiseño, which Proudfit said has experienced a resurgence in the past 20 years.