LEWISTON, Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College continues to make access to college seamless for all as demonstrated Friday by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR).
The MOU strengthens the relationship between the two and improves the quality of educational services and opportunities provided to the tribes and other students at LC State.
The CTUIR is a union of three tribes – the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla, and has more than 3,100 tribal members. Nearly half live on the Umatilla Indian Reservation, which covers 271 square miles in Umatilla County in northeast Oregon. The tribal offices are located just outside the reservation in Pendleton, Ore.
“LC State is proud of its long and consistent positive relationship with local and regional tribes,” LC State President Cynthia Pemberton said. “We are extremely happy to be able to expand our expression of commitment and connection to the unique cultural and community values of American Indian people; and look forward to working with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation to serve students’ education interests, needs and goals.”
As a central part of the agreement, both parties agree to make the CTUIR a part of an existing advisory board the college has with the Nez Perce and Coeur d’Alene tribes. The advisory board includes, from LC State, the president, vice presidents, the Native American, Minority and Veterans’ Services’ student advisor, and the Native American Club president. The CTUIR representation will feature the chairman of the CTUIR Board of Trustees, the chair of the Education and Training Committee, and other board members designated by the chair. The other members are the Nez Perce and Coeur d’Alene tribes representatives.
The college has previously signed MOUs with both the Nez Perce and Coeur d’Alene tribes.
The mission of the advisory board is to meet once each semester to strengthen the relationship between LC State and the tribes to increase access to the college. The LC State, Nez Perce and Coeur d’Alene Tribes Advisory Board met Friday morning on Zoom where both the CTUIR and LC State signed the MOU. During the meeting, LC State officials discussed, among other things, the services it provides in the Native American, Minority & Veterans’ Services office, scholarship opportunities, the new Schweitzer Career & Technical Education Center, dual credits, the Nez Perce language offerings, the College Assistant Migrant Program, and Adult Learner opportunities.
Because the CTUIR has tribal members attending LC State along with close ties to the Nez Perce Tribe, both the CTUIR and LC State officials agreed this presented a perfect opportunity for the MOU.
In its fall semester enrollment count, LC State has 92 Native American students, 79 of which are first generation college students.