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Davis, California

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Rehab center could open on local Native American land

The federal government wants to open a drug rehabilitation facility for Native American teens. The center would occupy 12 acres of American Indian land, near Deganawidah-Quetzalcoatl University, locally known as D-Q University.

The 643-acre Yolo County plot is owned by the federal government, but the deed designates the land to be zoned for educational purposes.

In early March, the federal government asked D-Q’s Board of Trustees to sign a land transfer approval letter. The Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, would own the land and build the treatment center.

Gary Ball, IHS staff architect for the center, said his agency is hoping to have the letter signed in the next 90 to 120 days.

The board deciding on the transfer is composed of eight members, all from different tribes.

Dunn Eggink, one of the trustees, said the trustees have not agreed on any plans but will likely pass the land over as a good deed.

The school lost its accreditation in 2005, though they continue hosting classes and projects.

Eggink said before the school considers regaining its accreditation, the board will first work on the infrastructure of D-Q, then on offering accredited courses through other schools.

“Our focus right now is to thrive with a unique identity and purpose,” Eggink said. “We’re working on new workshops and living sustainably. This is an ongoing process.”

At the Yolo County Board of Supervisors’ March 1 meeting, former IHS

Public Affairs Adviser Steven Zerebecki said the big unknown is if federal funding will come through for the project.

Funding to purchase the land from the U.S. General Services Administration is coming from money left over from finished construction projects. The project’s development budget is $17.6 million, with $1 million for planning and $1.4 million for the design. Construction is set to cost $15.2 million. The annual operating budget would be $4.5 million, with 70 full-time employees.

The center’s workforce would include a board-certified psychiatrist, 10 registered nurses, and 10 psychologists, therapists and counselors. The project would help IHS meet a 1992 Congressional mandate to open detox centers in its 12 geographic service areas, including two in California.

The service investigated 80 properties in 17 counties, and the D-Q land proved to be the most promising. IHS hopes to buy land in Riverside County for a Southern California treatment center as well.

Margo Kerrigan, director of California IHS, said these drug treatment centers are being misinterpreted as detention centers and that the patients would not jeopardize public safety.

“These are voluntary treatment facilities where the kids decide they want to go to treatment,” Kerringan said at the meeting. “It’s not one where they’re sent to treatment. They go to treatment because they want to.”

Formed in 1984, the Affiliated Obsidian Nation opposes the construction of the treatment center.

The Nation’s spokesman and former Davis City Council applicant Steve Jerome-Wyatt said the group believes the federal government will use the center as an excuse to overtake the rest of the D-Q land.

“The IHS is a branch of the federal government, and if the youth treatment center is built at D-Q, it won’t be long before the feds will be making plans to take even more of the land at D-Q back,” Wyatt said. “The proposal is nothing but an elaborate smoke screen.” 

There is no law that says the federal government has to ask the board for prior permission to build the IHS project.

“The feds are going through the motions of asking and cooperating with the board, for the sake of positive public relations,” Wyatt said. “The proposal is the first shot in the feds’ plan to take back the land at D-Q; the land that hundreds of American Indians fought, struggled and sacrificed to keep for over forty years.”

IHS intends to start construction in December and to open the center by 2014.

ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached city@theaggie.org.





    D-Q UNIVERSITY was founded as a university of the

    Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, north and south. It is also a

    tribally-controlled college, directed by a board whose membership

    reflects the tribal peoples of the United States and of California in

    particular. Thus while DQU seeks to serve all Indigenous Peoples,

    and all who wish to learn about the Original Americans, its

    governance reflects an emphasis upon California and the region in

    which the campus and its branches are located.

    DQ University has committed itself to offering an Associate in

    Arts degree and, when feasible, advanced degrees and special

    programs. As a part of the Associate in Arts degree DQU seeks to

    offer all students skills comparable with that which they might learn

    in any general Associate in Arts program, but what is special about

    DQU is its commitment since 1971 to the infusing of all courses with

    an Indigenous perspective and to offering a uniquely Native

    American education.

    In keeping with this policy DQU has attempted to direct its

    faculty to introduce Original American cultures, perspectives, and

    materials in all of its courses, whenever possible. To further this

    objective DQU entered into a joint project with Humboldt State

    University to further infuse Indigenous perspectives and materials

    into as many courses as feasible. This project has not been fully

    implemented but the objectives continue to remain the official policy

    of the University.

    In keeping with the above objectives, DQU will now seek to

    insure that all courses, whether part of the A.A. curriculum, or part of

    Extension offerings, and whether offered in English, Spanish, or other

    languages, contain Indigenous orientations and perspectives, and

    that all texts, readings, and materials, wherever possible and

    pertinent, will highlight the work of Indigenous authors and

    authorities and, or, utilize relevant sources, and that the content of all

    courses will be suitable and appropriate for an Indigenous


    By “Indigenous” the university means to refer to the Original

    Peoples of North, Central and South America primarily, but also, by

    extension and where appropriate, to similar Indigenous Peoples of

    other parts of the world (such as Maori, Native Hawaiians, Ainu,

    Sami, et cetera).

    Not every field lends itself equally to the realization of our

    mission of Indigenous infusion, but even science courses can be

    designed so that Maya-Mesoamerican mathematics and Native

    American views of the Living Earth and Living Universe can be

    incorporated, for example. Applied courses, such as those relating to

    Early Childhood Education, can and should incorporate traditional

    Native American views on the manner of respecting children and on

    the roles of the extended family, et cetera. Much material is available

    on these concepts, as well as on other aspects of the well-being of

    parents, children, and communities.

    It will be the task of the DQU Curriculum Committee and of

    DQU administrators and faculty, together, to examine all syllabi,

    outlines, and reading lists for courses and special offerings, in order

    to be sure that DQU is living up to its historic mission and


    {Draft by Prof. Jack D. Forbes for use by the volunteers and

    board members seeking to bring the DQU catalog up to date in the

    summer of 2004. Of special importance was the effort to be sure that

    the Early Childhood Education program had Indigenous content and

    that science and other courses also reflected that perspective where





    by the same Board of Trustees as is D-Q University. The Institute’s

    mission is:

    (1) to sponsor conferences of a scholarly or educational nature,

    either on campus or at reservation or other locations in

    Indian country;

    (2) to sponsor research projects of benefit to Indigenous


    (3) to offer seminars and short-term educational programs of an

    advanced nature;

    (4) to utilize radio, television, and other media for the

    dissemination of Native knowledge;

    (5) to offer earned master’s and doctoral degrees in Native

    American subject areas with emphasis upon community

    development and planning; however, this mission will

    await success in items 1,2, and 3.

    The California area needs a Native-oriented research and

    advanced studies institute which can provide r-and-d services

    for tribes and communities. For example, many California and

    Oregon tribes seek to recover information about their history

    and cultural heritage. Often they turn to non-Indian entities

    which are usually ill-equipped to perform the work and the

    results are superficial or unsatisfactory. The DQU Institute

    would employ and/or utilize staff with proper training in

    Native Studies.

    The DQU Institute can be initiated as the research and

    development arm of D-Q University. Eventually, though, it

    should perhaps be a separate non-profit corporation but with

    the same Board of Trustees as D-Q University. This will enable

    the Institute to offer advanced degrees without necessarily

    altering the A.A. degree accreditation status of the university.

    Jack D. Forbes

    Member, National Advisory Committee since 1981

    [ This plan had been proposed by Dr. Forbes in earlier

    years but had never been adopted by the board. In 2004 he

    revived the plan in order to meet the threat posed by the

    possible loss of WASC accreditation for the A.A. degree


  2. First the Current DQU Board of Trustees has changed D-Q University into “Gardening University”. Now This? Everyone in the Community Should Strongly Oppose Giving Back Any Land Back to White People. How Come The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) has Not Lifted a Finger to Help Re-open California’s ONE & Only Intertribal College?


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