Published on November 19, 2012 by Amy
Diné College is a two-year, tribally controlled community college, serving the Navajo Nation, an area of 27,000 square-miles (about 70,000 km²).
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The main campus of Diné College is in Tsaile, Arizona, an unincorporated community in Apache County, Arizona. There are also seven branches of Diné College on the reservation in Arizona (three in Apache County (Chinle, Ganado, and Window Rock), one in Coconino County (Tuba City), and one in Navajo County (Kayenta) and New Mexico (one in McKinley County (Crownpoint) and one in San Juan County (Shiprock)). The college is directed by an eight-member Board of Regents confirmed by the Government Services Committee of the Navajo Nation Council. The name Diné comes from the traditional name for the Navajo, meaning “the people.”
Current enrollment is 1,830 students, of which 210 are degree-seeking transfer students for four-year institutions. The main Tsaile campus includes eight fifteen-room dormitories housing about 150 students: each octagonally shaped unit has a fireplace in the center, and is described by the college as a “hooghan away from hogan”–a reference to the traditional Navajo hogan dwelling.
Scholarships are available through the American Indian College Fund (AICF).
Diné College opened in 1968 as the “Navajo Community College”, the first college established by Native Americans for Native Americans. The college was originally housed at the Rough Rock Community School in Rough Rock, Arizona while the Tsalie campus was under construction.
Ned Hatathli was chosen as the first president of Navajo Community College in 1969 when the Tsaile campus opened for classes, however, his presidency ended tragically when he accidentally shot himself while cleaning his rifle on October 16, 1972.
Tommy Lewis became president in August 1992 and funding from the BIA was about $4 million per year. Under his leadership, funding from the BIA increased to almost $7.3 million by the year 2000. The Navajo Language and Culture Curriculum became widely popular at the Tsaile campus after the program saw increases in class enrollment, thus allowing the Board of Regents to implement the program throughout the institution. Under the 1994 Equity in Education Act, Diné College became a Land Grant Institution allowing the institution to receive funding from the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890.
During the Summer of 1997, the Administration changed the name of the college from Navajo Community College to Diné College in order to better to represent the school’s function as an institution of learning for the Diné/Navajo people.
In 1998, Diné College bestowed its first baccalaureate degrees under the Diné Teacher Education Program, accredited through a partnership with Arizona State University.
In 1998, the Diné College Library was rededicated as the “Kinyaa’áanii Charlie Benally Memorial Library”.
On May 21, 2011, the women’s archery team made history by winning the United States college national championship in compound bow. This is believed to be the first time a tribal college team has won a top-tier intercollegiate national championship event in any sport.