UC Riverside's goal: more Native American students in college

Monday, July 8, 2013

Before Isaiah Aragon, a 17-year-old heading into his senior year, arrived in June at a weeklong camp for Native Americans at UC Riverside, he wasn't sure where he'd apply to college.

But after only a day on campus with 30 other Native American high schoolers, Riverside was a possibility.

"It has me a little more interested," said Isaiah, a member of the Ohlone tribe who attends school in Claremont.

Organizers say the purpose of the camp, known as the Gathering of the Tribes, isn't necessarily to steer students toward UC Riverside. "We need more Native Americans in college. It doesn't matter if it's UC Riverside or Riverside Community College," said Cliff Trafzer, a professor who specializes in American Indian history.

UC Riverside is among many colleges that hold summer activities for potential minority students — especially in California, where affirmative action has been banned for 17 years. (Most of this year's campers had just been born when voters approved Proposition 209 in 1996, which ended race-based admission policies at state schools.)

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