GW starts fellowship with California-based Native American tribe

GW will offer a fellowship to Native American students from California starting next spring that will help cover the costs of spending a summer working and studying in D.C.

Fellows will also participate in a part-time internship and one-week seminar with policymakers and community leaders, according to a University release. The fellowship, which is the first of its kind between GW and a Native American tribe, is part of GW’s Native American Political Leadership Program, which gives full scholarships to Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students.

The fellowship, named after former 28-year tribe chairman Richard Milanovich, comes from a partnership between GW and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. It could be offered to all Native American students in California who are members of federally recognized tribes.

Up to two fellows will be selected in the 2016 spring semester, said Gregory Lebel, the director of the Native American Political Leadership Program.

“We hope that this groundbreaking partnership with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians will become a model for others to follow,” Lebel said in an email.

There are 16 Native American undergraduate students currently enrolled at the University, a total that has declined 56 percent since 2010, according to the Office of Institutional Research.

The Cahuilla Indians live on more than 32,000 acres of reservation land across Palm Springs and into the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains, according to a release. A spokeswoman for the tribe did not return a request for comment.

Jeff Grubbe, the tribe’s current chairman, said in GW’s release that the fellowship will allow Native American students to “enhance classroom learning and gain invaluable experience in the real world.”

“It’s well known that college graduates have the ability to achieve at a higher level and obtain a much-needed competitive edge in today’s job market,” Grubbe said. “We want students in the fellowship program to achieve this kind of success.”

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