Native Village Youth and Education News

March 1, 2009 Issue 195 Volume 2


NW Indian College to grant 1st 4-year degree

Condensed by Gina Boltz, Director, Native Village

Lummi Reservation, Wash: After more than 25 years as a two-year school, Northwest Indian College will grant its first four-year bachelor's degrees this spring.  Those first degrees will be in native environmental sciences, which combines traditional Native American knowledge of the natural world with conventional environmental science.

Jessica Urbanec, a Lummi, expects to be one of those graduates.

"We incorporate our cultural beliefs with all the science," he said. "We have a direct link to the land because we have been here for generations.  We go out into the community and practice that which we learn in the classroom.  The environment is everybody. It's not strictly tribal."

Northwest Indian College began as the Lummi Indian School of Aquaculture, which provided training in salmon and shellfish-rearings. In 1983, the aquaculture school became Lummi Community College.

By 1989 it was given its present name. Today NWIC is growing.  Recent additions include a 67-student dormitory, a classroom building and an early learning center that provides child care.

The college also expects to break ground this year on a $3,700,000 Center for Student Success that will house all student services now spread around the smaller buildings. Also planned is a $1,600,000 natural resources lab to serve the environmental science program.

Students from about 100 tribes are enrolled at NWIC. About 20% are non-Indian.


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