Until this presentation, tribal education was not something I had much considered. I think there’s definitely a bias towards people living on reservations—many people just assume that typically a lot of Native Americans don’t bother with education beyond high school because they have different lifestyles from us. And there’s this assumption that if a Native American is an exception and wants to get a degree, he’ll leave his reservation, get educated, and not come back, perpetuating the cycle & low percentage of college educated people on reservations.
The idea of a community college is, in my opinion, an excellent approach to this issue. The Tohono O’odham Community College sounds like it’s doing a great job at this; the number of students attending is on the rise, the school is getting a lot of financial support from the community, and the degrees being earned are largely technical ones that can be put towards good use and progress within the reservation and won’t require graduates to leave to actually have opportunities with their degrees.
I know finances have historically been an issue with education on reservations, and even today I doubt that all of the eligible tribal members are utilizing tools like FAFSA to finance their degrees. I think it could be beneficial to the Tohono O’odham to make an effort to communicate how to use these tools & encourage additional education because with a more educated general public, the Tohono O’odham would gain additional sovereignty just because it would reduce their susceptibility to anything imposed by the US government and help their voices to be heard.