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Morongo Awards $40,000 in College Scholarships to Native American Students

Morongo’s Annual Rodney T. Mathews Jr. Scholarship has awarded more than $500,000 to Native American students, the most underrepresented group in higher education.

MORONGO INDIAN RESERVATION –Four Native American students from across California have each received a $10,000 scholarship from the Morongo Band of Mission Indians near Palm Springs as part of the 15th Annual Rodney T. Mathews Jr. Scholarship Program.

Since the program’s launch, Morongo has awarded more than $500,000 to 53 Native American students attending universities across the nation. The scholarship program is open to enrolled members of any of the more than 100 federally recognized tribes in California.

“Morongo is proud to support the Rodney T. Matthews Jr. Scholarship in its mission to reverse the trends that have left Native Americans as the most underrepresented group in colleges and universities,” Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin said. “In the past 15 years Morongo has been able to provide Native American students with more than a $500,000 in college scholarships.”

The 2019 recipients are:

  • Minda Streamer of the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indiansis pursuing her A.M. in Clinical Social Work in the Trauma Responsive Program of Study at the University of Chicago. She currently interns at a child development center and charter school. She plans to return to her Native community and work as a health clinic counselor.

I am extremely appreciative of this scholarship and the Morongo community for awarding it to me,” said Streamer. “It is a tremendous help to be able to focus on my studies instead of worrying about whether I’ll be able to pay for rent or groceries.”  

  • Pectasan Qasil Feliz of the Yurok Tribeattends the University of Oregon where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology: Early Child Development. She hopes to return to her tribe as a Child Psychologist to provide children with a resource who better understands them.

“I am really grateful to Morongo for this scholarship that is helping me to succeed in my studies. It is really encouraging knowing that someone outside of my small community cares about Native American students succeeding in higher education,” Feliz said.

  • Shayleena Britton of the Wailacki, Yuki Nomlacki Tribes is working towards her B.A. in 3D Animation at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Britton wants to use her animation and media skills to make a film about her reservation highlighting the Wailaki language, and to raise awareness of tribal culture and languages. She currently manages a Facebook page titled “Wailaki Kunnes Bakang Ishjii Naagai” to help give people access to the Wailaki language. “I want to thank the Morongo community for accepting me and providing me with this scholarship,” Britton said. “Paying for school has been the most difficult part of pursuing my degree, but thanks to Morongo I am able to continue pursuing my goal.”
  • William Feather of the Round Valley Indian Tribesis pursuing a Master of Social Work at Humboldt University. He currently works as the Inmate Services Coordinator at the Mendocino County Jail where he runs a social services program for the more than 300 inmates. He intends to pursue a doctorate and become a Native American Spiritual Leader for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

“I’m so thankful to Morongo for helping me get closer to my dream,” Feather said. “Receiving this scholarship is helping me to continue my education and be a positive role model for my kids. I only hope that I can pay it forward one day.”


American Indians and Alaskan Natives comprise less than 1% of the nation’s college students, the lowest college enrollment rate of any ethnic group, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Similarly, only 15% of American Indians hold bachelor’s degrees, fewer than any ethnic group in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The scholarship program honors the late Rodney T. Mathews Jr., a Morongo tribal member and Hastings Law School graduate who passed away in 2004 after serving as a judge pro tem for more than a decade.

Scholarship applicants are considered based on their academic success and community service.  Candidates must be full-time students at an accredited college or university; complete 60 hours with a designated California Indian agency; and be actively involved in the Native American community.