Blog #4 – Time on the Res

This morning we said adios to Tucson and headed back into reservation land. We spent time at Tohono O’odham Community College talking with the president and the head of a student outreach program. TOCC (with its 3 sites across the reservation) has been vital to the O’odham community members, as well as other students, in finding opportunity for higher education, the GED, and trade work. What is almost impossible to believe is that a student pays only $34 per credit hour – definitely not what W&L is charging me these 4 years… TOCC offers a lot of associates programs, most of which are set up to transfer to 4-year degree colleges. One thing I found most important about the curriculum is that each student must take O’odham culture and history along with O’odham language. One of the key steps to reviving Tohono O’odham traditions is to bring back the language among younger generations in order to tie the whole community together again. I was also amazed that the majority of the funding for TOCC comes from the Tohono O’odham Nation itself – a true example of the principle of community-centeredness.

Before making it to the mission in Topawa we took a short tour of the Tohono O’odham Cultural Center and Museum. The museum, only established 11 years ago, is still in the process of getting back artifacts from across the country and the world, as well as compiling knowledge of those artifacts to provide the best educational experience for their visitors and TON. I was amazed by the sheer amount of artifacts they already had, especially the pottery. What I respect most about the museum is that they really listened to the community when creating exhibits. Little did we know that we definitely did not see the last of this museum…

One Reply to “Blog #4 – Time on the Res”

  1. TOCC is one of the youngest of the many tribal colleges that now exist. It seems to be doing very important work for its students and the Tohono O’odham community as a whole. Your final comment about the museum was ominous…Like a horror story that is about to unfold!

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