San Manuel Grant Will Enhance Efforts to Support Native and Indigenous Students, Community Outreach

Claremont, Calif. – Nov. 30, 2023 – Pitzer College announces a $60,000 grant from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in support of the College’s efforts to support Native and Indigenous students and communities through cultural education, archives, oral histories, internship opportunities, and relationships with local tribes.

The grant will provide funding to the Native & Indigenous Initiatives at Pitzer College, a program that is housed in the College’s Community Engagement Center (CEC), and to a new oral history project of Pitzer’s CASA (Critical Action + Social Advocacy) community center and community-based research program.

“San Manuel embraces a philosophy of affirming and uplifting Native Indigenous people and giving back to the community, and we are honored to have them acknowledge Pitzer’s efforts in these areas,” said CEC Director Tricia Morgan. “This grant helps provide critically important support and empowerment to Native/Indigenous students enrolled here at Pitzer, enabling them to design their own programming to fit their needs and provide them with Native/Indigenous scholarly mentorship. We will continue to work toward nurturing and enhancing the relationships that Pitzer has with Native and Indigenous communities on and off campus in ways that center Native/Indigenous voices and desires.”

In addition to working closely with the Native Indigenous Student Union and two Native Indigenous Scholars in Residence at Pitzer, the grant will also lend support to an oral history project developed by CASA Pitzer, which frequently partners with the CEC to connect students and faculty with various local organizations and conduct community-based research.

“Along with the erasure and omission of Native and Indigenous voices in dominant oral history narratives, significant challenges facing any community are the passage of time and the loss of the voices and memories of elder representatives,” explained Tessa Hicks Peterson, CASA Pitzer’s program director. “San Manuel’s grant will help us as we start a Native and Indigenous oral histories project, which is possible thanks to the important bonds we’ve been able to forge with people and groups in our surrounding communities.”

The $60,000 grant is the latest example of San Manuel’s long history of supporting Pitzer’s efforts to support Native and Indigenous populations.

“Pitzer’s Native Indigenous Initiatives programs align with San Manuel’s giving pillars of ‘Inspiring our Future through Education’ and ‘Preserving Cultural Traditions’,” said Lynn Valbuena, Chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. “It is important to collaborate with local communities in this work, and we are pleased to be able to assist Pitzer on an important initiative that will benefit Native and Indigenous students in this region and beyond.”


About The Native & Indigenous Initiatives at Pitzer College: Visit here for more information on the programs and people behind these initiatives.

About San Manuel Band of Mission Indians: The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is a federally-recognized Indian tribe located on the San Manuel Indian Reservation near Highland, California.  San Manuel exercises its inherent sovereign right of self-governance and provides essential services for its citizens by building infrastructure, maintaining civil services, and promoting social, economic and cultural development.  As the Indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys, mountains and high deserts, the Serrano people of San Manuel have called this area home since time immemorial and are committed to remaining a productive partner in the San Bernardino region. For more information, visit here.

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility, and community involvement. For more information, please visit

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