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Captain Jack
Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California



Historic Sites
Selected References


A History of American Indians in California:

D-Q University
Yolo County

Deganawidah-Quetzalcoatl University is a fully accredited two-year institution of higher education, located on 643 acres of land on Road 31 west of Davis, California. "Deganawidah was the name of the American Indian chief who formed the Iroquois Federation, and Quetzalcoatl, the name of an Aztec leader, later deified by his people." (Sacramento Union, March 28, 1971, p. 1) Constructed in the 1940s and previously used as a United States Strategic Air Command Communication Center, its five buildings now serve as administrative, research, classroom, and dormitory facilities. The southeast portion of the school's acreage functions as a religious and ceremonial area where traditional Indian ceremonies may be carried out. At one time, the ceremonial grounds were home for the Plains Sun Dance. Presently, there are plans underway to construct a California-style traditional round house on the grounds.

The General Services Administration deeded the land on which D-Q now sits as a concession to Indian people after they left Alcatraz Island. However, conditions established by the federal government regarding specific use of the land have caused it to remain in an indefinite ownership state. The site was occupied in 1972 by Indians of several tribes, pursuant to the policy of the United States Government to grant surplus federal lands to Indians.

The purpose of D-Q University is to provide alternative ideas and methods of education to Native American people. Among its goals are the preservation and re-institutionalization of traditional Native American values, the perpetuation and exercise of Native American religion and beliefs, the establishment of a Native American Research Institute, the development of field-based educational delivery systems to Native Americans who cannot attend the school itself, and the maintenance of social and personal support systems for D-Q students and staff. D-Q also served as the location for organizing "The Longest Walk" in 1978, which terminated in Washington, D.C., the 500-mile Indian Marathon in 1978-79, and other demonstrations of Indian self-awareness. In the summer of 1986, it was also the site of a youth and elders gathering. In spite of continued attempts by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to close the school and repossess the land, D-Q staff and students express a strong desire to keep the school open. "D-Q University is a symbol of 20th century Indian self-determination and remains an example to Indians around the country as to what we can do if we believe in ourselves." (Dave Risling, Chairman, D-Q University, August 1980) At the present time, [1982] D-Q is negotiating with the U.S. Government in an effort to reach a land settlement acceptable to both the school and the government.

D-Q University
D-Q University

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