California Tribal College

About California Tribal College

Responding to Important Tribal Needs

California Tribal College (CTC) will prepare Native students for professions and tribal leadership. Overseen by tribal leaders and experienced educators, CTC will:

  • Help tribes meet the demand for educated professionals
  • Foster economic development in tribal communities
  • Provide centers for community service and tribe-specific research
  • Promote skills for preserving tribal culture and language
  • Strengthen tribal nations by developing effective tribal leaders

Why a California Tribal College is Needed

Education is vital to the future of Native American people and nations. The ability to sustain their cultures, strengthen their sovereign governments, and build thriving businesses depends on educated leaders.

Unfortunately, Native Americans are among the least represented groups in California higher education. They have one of the lowest high school graduation rates.[1] When they graduate, they frequently cannot meet requirements for California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC)[2]. And, of those who go to college, more than half drop out after their first year[3]

Research shows feelings of discrimination, low expectations, and the absence of culturally-relevant curricula contribute to this lack of success. And not surprisingly, many students and parents are reluctant to support an education that does not acknowledge or strengthen tribal self-understanding and identity.

California Tribal College, overseen by tribal and education leaders, will promote access to higher education opportunities while incorporating tribal histories, cultures, and languages as a critical part of its mission.

Strong tribal and educational leadership and guidance, combined with supportive cultural foundations and student identities, will help to produce literate, scholarly, culturally well-grounded students who are able to attend college and develop professional careers. In turn, these students are more likely to give back to their communities and support a tribal government and cultural continuity.

[1]  American Community Survey, Percent of People Below Poverty Level in the past 12 months.

[2] Of the 68% of California Natives who graduated from high school, only 27% completed the University of California/California State University entrance requirements, the lowest of any race/ethnicity.

[3] News release by the California Department of Education and Superintendent Tom Torlakson, June 27, 2012.

Facts & Figures

According to the U.S. Census, Native Americans have lower educational attainment rates than persons from other racial/ethnic backgrounds, and the numbers are even lower for those who live on reservations. In addition, universities across the country have disproportionately low rates of retention among Native American students, and the number of bachelorʼs degrees granted to Native students is lower than their numbers in the population overall might indicate.

This information comes from The State of American Indian and Alaska Native Education in California Report.


 Poverty Rates: American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) & the State of California

*The chart above shows that Native people in California have a poverty rate of about 18%, which is 4% higher than the state average of 14%.

 High School Graduation Rates by Race/Ethnicity in Californiagradrate

**About 68% of California Natives received a high school diploma in 2007-2008, which is 7% lower than the state average.


CTC Structure

With support from more than 65 California tribal governments and organizations, California Tribal College has been working strategically with education experts and tribal leaders for more than five years to lay the foundation for an enduring educational institution to serve the needs of Native students for generations to come.

  • A multiyear, two-phase feasibility study to assess the need for California Tribal College and identify appropriate curricula was completed
  • California Tribal College incorporated as a 501(c)(3)
  • A set of bylaws was created and adopted
  • College Officers and a Board of Regents composed of tribal, education, and business leaders have been elected
  • 251 students from over 60 tribes completed five Certificate Programs in Tribal Leadership and Governance

CTC Officers & Regents

California Tribal College is overseen by Officers and an elected Board of Regents composed of tribal, education, and business leaders.

California Tribal College Officers


Marilyn Delgado, Interim Board Chair & President

Member of Nor Rel Muk Wintu Nation

Board of Regents

Dr. Joseph Giovannetti, Leadership Council Regent

Tribal Council Member of Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation


Dennis Hendricks, Leadership Council Regent

Tribal Council Member of the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians


Sara Setshwaelo, Leadership Council Regent

Tribal Chairwoman of the Ione Band of Miwok Indians


James Siva, Leadership Council Regent

Tribal Vice Chairman of Morongo Band of Mission Indians


Mikela Jones, Leadership Council Regent

Member of Little River Band of Pomo Indians


Dr. Annette Reed, At-Large Regent

Member of Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation