Welcome to Morongo
Set at the foot of the beautiful San Gorgonio and San Jacinto Mountains, the Morongo Indian Reservation spans more than 35,000 acres and overlooks the vistas of the Banning Pass. Resilient and resourceful, the Morongo tribe has had to overcome many adversities.
The Annual Rodney T. Mathews Jr. Scholarship has awarded more than $525,000 to Native American students, the most underrepresented group in higher education.
MORONGO INDIAN RESERVATION – Two Native American students from California have each received a $10,000 scholarship from the Morongo Band of Mission Indians near Palm Springs as part of the 16th Annual Rodney T. Mathews Jr. Scholarship Program.
Since its launch, Morongo’s program has awarded more than $525,000 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 offer the Rodney T. Matthews Jr. Scholarship to help reverse the trends that have left Native Americans as the most underrepresented group in colleges and universities,” Morongo Tribal Chairman Charles Martin said. “We look forward to this annual opportunity to support outstanding Native American students as they pursue a higher education to improve themselves and the future of their tribal communities.”
The 2021 recipients are:
- Britney Vargas of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel is pursuing a B.A. in Elementary Education at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. The recent graduate of Julian High School in San Diego County served as Native American Club Secretary, was a three-sport athlete and class secretary. Ms. Vargas also holds the title of Miss Julian 2020-2021 and was the previous Teen Miss Julian. She has logged over 650 in volunteer community hours during high school. Her goal is to develop a curriculum that teaches Native American culture to elementary school students in hopes of preserving Native American heritage for future generations.
“I think it’s absolutely amazing that the Morongo Band of Mission Indians does this for kids like me and other kids who struggle financially,” Vargas said. “I am just so grateful that I even had the opportunity to apply for the scholarship. This will help me pay for my books, meal plan and a dorm room, and allow me to focus on my studies.”
- Sasheen Shailee Colegrove Raymond of the Hoopa Valley and Yurok Tribes is working towards her PhD. in Global Leadership and Change at Pepperdine University. She currently works at Humboldt State University’s Social Work Department where she assists rural and indigenous communities. She also helps Native American students navigate the educational system and cultivates relationships with local tribal agencies to increase internship placements. Through her studies, she plans to continue to conduct research and data collection to assist Tribal communities and inform policy decisions.
“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and that Morongo continues to support the Native community and Indian country because ultimately I feel it’s an important piece for all of us to be able to contribute back to our communities,” Raymond said. “This scholarship lifts such a huge burden off my shoulders, and I am truly thankful from the bottom of my heart.”
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.
Announcement of Draft Permit and Request for Public Comment on Draft Clean Air Act Minor NSR Permit in Indian Country
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
By Amanda Ulrich
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians plans to use existing Southern California Edison power lines, a section of which cross its reservation in Banning, to help connect solar, wind and battery resources to the regional power grid.
Morongo partnered with the utility company to develop and finance part of an upgrade to the transmission lines, the tribe reported in a press release Monday.
Morongo Transmission LLC, a partnership between the tribe as majority owner and a New York-registered investment company called Coachella Partners LLC, will operate the project. SCE was able to gain new rights-of-way across the Banning reservation, according to the tribe, while Morongo Transmission LLC was permitted to lease a percentage of the project’s transfer capability.
In return for financing a portion of the project alongside SCE, the tribe will “share in the proceeds” of the transmission lines, Morongo spokesperson Phil Southard said.
Morongo said in the release that it is the first Native American tribe in the country to be approved as a participating transmission owner, or an entity that owns or operates power lines.
“Morongo is honored to be making history once again as the first tribe in the nation to be a participating transmission owner,” said Charles Martin, the tribe’s chairman.
“Our tribe has a deep connection to the environment, and the agreement by Morongo Transmission to lease capacity on Southern California Edison’s newly upgraded system will further that legacy by delivering green energy resources to the Southern California power grid.”
Morongo’s involvement is part of a broader effort from SCE to deliver more renewable power to the Southern California region.
The partnership falls under Southern California Edison’s West of Devers Upgrade, a project several years in the making that replaced nearly 50 miles of aging power lines between a substation near Palm Springs and San Bernardino.
The project tripled the system’s capacity to transmit power generated by renewable resources to major population centers in Southern California, according to the tribe. Those specific renewable energy projects, like solar farms, are located in more eastern parts of Riverside County, Imperial County and outside the state. Southard added that none of the renewable energy sources are located on the Morongo reservation.
Southard did not have specific figures on Monday for the project’s financial impact on the tribe.
In February, the Board of Governors for the California Independent System Operator approved Morongo Transmission’s application to join the nonprofit, a first for a federally recognized tribe. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission then finalized all necessary approvals to allow operations by Morongo Transmission earlier this month.
Elliot Mainzer, CAISO’s board president and CEO, praised Morongo and SCE in February “for their creativity and flexibility in developing an innovative ownership structure that enables this critical transmission project to proceed,” the press release said.
9th Annual Morongo Open Ranch Rodeo
Rodeo Grounds : 11555 Cottonwood Rd., Morongo Indian Reservation, Banning, CA