The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

American Indian group offers support

By Karen Gavis/managing editor

Assistant professor of reading and writing Michael Wright, a Pamunkey/Chowanoke Indian, recently began the Native America n Student Support Confederation on South Campus.

The group was formed so Native American students could interact, build new friendships and find support during their college experience while acquiring a deeper understanding and appreciation for their heritage.

“There are approximately 357 self-identified American Indian students that are enrolled across all Tarrant County College campuses,” Wright said. “Most racially and ethnically diverse students face issues associated with cultural conflict when attempting to integrate their traditional culture with that of the mainstream.”

Wright said most of TCC’s Native American population comes from the public school system, and those students are accustomed to mainstream culture, so little transitioning is needed.

“However, there is still a culture of expectation that many of the students have not internalized and will benefit from an atmosphere where support is available,” he said.

Wright said all students, regardless of Native American heritage, are welcome to participate in the group. They simply must share a passion for the success of culturally diverse student populations.

“Through participation in NASSCo, students with an American Indian identity are provided with an opportunity to share their experiences with non-Native peers and to form relationships in an effort to become socially connected with the college campus, which, in turn, increases the likelihood of retention and subsequent graduation,” he said. “Additionally, NASSCo provides the general campus population with an opportunity to learn more about and become involved with the American Indian and their rich heritage through NASSCo-sponsored events.”

The group also assists students with establishing contact with tribal entities in an effort to secure any available funding, so an inability to pay for college isn’t an educational barrier, Wright said.

TCC’s foundation scholarship manager Rhonda Seyfried said tribes offer their own scholarships to Native American students.

Seyfried said many of the foundation’s scholarships, which are provided by donors, are need-based, but race/ethnicity are irrelevant.

“The TCC Foundation does not have any scholarships that were set up specifically for Native Americans,” she said. “All students are eligible to apply for our scholarships and do not need to be enrolled in a federally recognized tribe.”

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