History of the Tribal Program

Formerly known as the Reservation-Based Community-Determined Program

The Evergreen State College Reservation-Based Community-Determined program began under the direction of Dr. Carol Minugh in 1989 on the Quinault Indian Reservation. Designed to serve place-bound students deeply connected to their tribal community, the program was "reservation based" from the beginning, with classes held within the community. And in borrowing from the field of participatory research, the program was "community determined" by placing value on existing community knowledge and utilizing community members as guest instructors.

Because the program was intended to serve students with 90 or more college credits, a long-standing need has been to find a way to serve students with fewer than 90 college credits. In response, a partnership with WashingtonOnline and Grays Harbor College was formed in 2005 to provide Associate of Arts degree opportunities to place-bound tribal students with fewer than 90 college credits. This effort was expanded in 2012 by the development of a new partnership with Peninsula College, which provides a site and other program support to students enrolled in the Bridge program, and also for a new site for students enrolled in the Evergreen, upper division program. Funded by a generous grant from the Lumina Foundation for Education, Evergreen, Grays Harbor and Peninsula are now capable of meeting the needs of place-bound American Indian students in western Washington from developmental education (college prep) courses through an Associate of Arts transfer degree to a Liberal Arts degree.

In 2017 the program was renamed the Native Pathways Program. A new site was established at Evergreen's Tacoma campus to serve urban Indians. In addition, a new hybrid online version of the program opened for students unable to attend the other sites. The program continues to serve working, placebound students by offering evening and weekend classes.