Celebrating Native American Heritage
Oct, 29 2020
At the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD), we have experienced firsthand how education can help inspire and empower the leaders of tomorrow, while recognizing and honoring those who helped pave the way. As we observe National Native American Heritage Month this November, we are reminded of the countless Indigenous leaders who have inspired Native American people across the country, including:
- John Herrington, an astronaut and the first Native American in space, who is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.
- Maria Tallchief, the country’s first Native American prima ballerina, who is a member of Oklahoma’s Osage Nation.
- Dave Anderson, founder and CEO of national chain Famous Dave’s Barbeque, who is an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Lake Superior Band of Ojibwe of northwest Wisconsin.
- Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who was elected to serve Colorado in the U.S. Senate in 1992 and was the first Native American to serve in the Senate in over 60 years, and is a descendant of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.
- Sharice Davids, a member of Wisconsin’s Ho-Chunk Nation, and Deb Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe in New Mexico, who are the first Native American women ever elected to Congress.
- Charlene Teters, an activist who was one of the first to speak out against the use of Native American stereotypes in sports team names and mascots, who is of the Spokane Tribe.
MCCCD is committed to providing our Indigenous community with tools and skills that align with our mission in ways that allow students to succeed in their academic endeavors, in addition to supporting and empowering Indigenous students and communities in Arizona with opportunities for cultural and academic support, engagement, and advocacy.
At all 10 of our regionally-accredited colleges, we offer an early high school-to-college bridge program called Hoop of Learning, which aims to reduce economic cultural barriers that American Indians may face and helps high school students successfully transition to college.
In addition to this transition-to-college program, we also offer student scholarships to help make college more affordable and an American Indian Outreach program to encourage and support the educational attainment of American Indian students at MCCCD.
Select colleges also support our students’ unique needs with programs and centers, including:
- The American Indian Institute at Mesa Community College
- The American Indian Intercultural Center at South Mountain Community College
- The American Indian Program at Scottsdale Community College
- The Indigenous Cultural Center at Scottsdale Community College
For students who want to be more involved in the Native community or pursue an education studying Native American heritage, we also offer student clubs and organizations at many colleges, in addition to an academic certificate in American Indian Studies. We also recognize that it is important to acknowledge that many of our campuses are located on the ancestral lands or within the boundaries of many of Arizona’s tribal nations, and value the opportunity to share the beauty and significance of these lands with our students, faculty and staff.
At MCCCD, we believe that celebrating heritage should not be confined to just a month and we are proud to celebrate Native American culture year-round.