Student leaders arrested for resisting removal from California’s only tribal college

Dear Editor,

During February over 50 community members stood ground after the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department arrested three Native students – Christopher Yazzie, Manuel Santana and Daniel Cory – as they were preparing for the biweekly spiritual ceremony and prayer held at D-Q. This is part of the ongoing harassment of students at the hands of the current Board of Trustees.

Despite threats of arrest, the original vision of D-Q is still alive and growing.

On the night of a blessed lunar eclipse, gathered around the sacred fire (that has been burning continuously for 21 days) we maintain our place here and contemplate the future and immediate safety of D-Q.

“We are representative of all Indigenous Nations across Turtle Island. We are the students, caretakers, stewards and teachers of this land.” said Chris Yazzie, D-Q student leader/caretaker, “The students have always been the backbone of Native education here at D-Q. We are expressing our right to this land and our way of life. We have always been here and have never left. In the spirit of the original vision of D-Q we shall continue to be here despite threats of removal,” he continued.

Malfeasance of the Board has been brought to the extreme with the recent illegal and forceful arrest and detainment of the students who maintain their residency on D-Q campus. We have video documentation and witnesses to the assaults committed by members of the board on several community members during the February 16, 2008, board meeting. Despite being illegally arrested, incarcerated, harassed and having their civil rights violated, these young men return to the ceremony held at D-Q.

“We continue living in our homes on campus,” said D-Q student Manuel Santana, “Only three of the many residents were illegally arrested. Why not arrest all the students if everyone is supposed to be so-called ‘trespassers?’” he stated. Many supporters and residents awaited their arrival. Over 30 people participated in this ceremony to welcome the students safe return.

Several previous attempts had been made by the students to work with the Board of Trustees. For three years many community members, volunteers and teachers have offered their support and have expressed interest in teaching classes for free at the University. Proposals were sent to the board in September 2007 for accredited and non-accredited classes to be taught at D-Q University. No response has been received from the board. The students continue to run their own programs on campus, including an Indigenous Permaculture Program and ceremonies twice a week, as well as Spring classes which include a new Biodiesel Program, Danza Azteca, ongoing Native language studies in Lakota and Dineh as well as Indigenous media issues hosted by Indigenous Nations Network.

D-Q University was founded to provide a Native way of learning and remembering the ways of our ancestors, and to activate unity across the land for all First Nations people. This is the original vision of the University and continues to be the vision with which the students live by.


We want accountability for past financial abuse and misuse of funds from the previous and current Board of Trustees. The current board has proven to be incompetent and we ask for community support in obtaining a new Board of Trustees. Many important historical documents and student transcripts have gone missing or have been destroyed. We will no longer tolerate incompetence from the board and the harassment of students living on campus.

We stand firm in asking for the resignation of the current Board of Trustees and we are gathering to create and organize our new board – consisting of a self-guided council of responsible elders, students and community members to revive the original vision for D-Q Nations and the Seventh Generation.

Future encounters with the police are on the brink and we will not acknowledge their jurisdiction. We the students have as much right to be on D-Q campus as the board does. We are setting precedent. We plan on reorganizing the power structure of the Board of Trustees so that future abuse of power will not be tolerated or possible ever again.

We request help in the form of legal counsel and pro bono assistance – as well as instructors for classes to be taught on campus – so that we may continue the education for which D-Q was meant for. Supporters and students remain on campus and continue to resist removal, as our predecessors before us once did when they risked their lives to found the school in 1970.

Financial assistance and food donations are appreciated. We seek justice for all the inhabitants of D-Q and for the health and safety of this sacred land. Contact:

Linda Roberts

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(505) 603-2908


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(530) 554-8377

Lupita Torres

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(408) 529-3849