Dine College: A Personal Plea Essay

1393 words - 6 pages

I am writing this letter to plead the case of one of Arizona’s most prized institutions—Dine College. Knowing that you are a strong advocate for education, and in observance of your determination to be the leading state in school choice (whether it is public, private or charter), I strongly want to urge you against closing down Dine College. Not only will the closure be a huge mistake in depriving many Arizona Natives an extraordinary education, it will be a terrible economic decision as well. I am quite familiar with your fiscal policy, and I had the privilege to hear you speak on the five billion dollar deficit in Arizona in 2010. The closing of Dine College will have detrimental effects on the state, and I feel it would truly be in our best interest, as a state, to keep the doors open. There are numerous purposes to state the importance of keeping the doors of Dine College open; first, it is the only college in the United States to have the honor of saying it is the first college established by the indigenous peoples of this land; second, it is completely self-sufficient and has no effect on the State’s budget deficit; finally, and most importantly, the closure would have a catastrophic effect on the ability for the current students to continue their education, which would result in decreased productivity and less opportunities for its youth.
As previously stated, Dine College, formerly Navajo Community College, was the first of now 30 colleges established by the Native Americans for the Native Americans. The College opened its doors in 1968 on the campus of Rough Rock Community School, while its current location in Tsaile (an unincorporated community in Apache County, Arizona) was under construction. The college serves twenty-seven square miles of Navajo Indian Reservation, which covers the States of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The main campus is in Tsaile, AZ, and seven smaller campuses are located throughout the reservation. Approximately two thousand students attend Dine College, which roughly 12 percent are seeking degrees and looking to transfer to four-year institutions upon completion of the general education program offered . Along with the two-year general education transfer degree, Dine College offers many other programs for higher education: AA Associate of Art, AS Associate of Science, AAS Associate of Applied Science, CT Certificate Program, and BA Bachelors of Art in Elementary Education.
You may argue that Dine College is one of thirty of its kind and that closing the College would have little effect on the Navajo Community, but I beg to differ. The College, while it is now one of thirty, was the first that gave indigenous people the opportunity to take back part of what was taken from them so long ago and establish an educational community for its own people. Imagine living in a land that was first yours, but is no longer and you are treated as though you are the immigrant. The founding of Diné College is a monument to...

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