Native American and Pacific Islander Resources

Join our Wonoti Learning Community

The Native American Resource and Pacific Islander Resource Room, located in the Cross Cultural Center (K-1) on our Rocklin Campus, offers a variety of programs, services and resources to support and create a community for students who identify as Native American.

In an effort to build camaraderie and promote your student success at Sierra College and beyond, we can help you get connected through academic enrichment, mentorship, clubs, activities, financial aid and much more.

What is the Wonoti Program?

The Wonoti Program at Sierra College is open to all students and is specifically designed to increase the retention and success rates of Native American and Pacific Islander/Polynesian students.

Wonoti (a Southern Maidu word meaning “to cause to grow”) is a community dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences and opportunities of Native American and Pacific Islander/Polynesian students.

The Wonoti Program is informed by an indigenous worldview that seeks to emphasize tribal/village values and ethics. Wonoti was designed to educate the students in the program holistically (mentally, physically, and spiritually) while also educating the campus community about the aboriginal peoples of this land.

Benefits of participating in the Wonoti program:

  • Strong support system and personal attention by counselors and instructors
  • Peer mentor tutoring
  • Cultural workshops and community/campus field trips
  • Mentorship with Tribal Liaison and other faculty/staff and community members

Enroll in the Wonoti Program

To learn more, email the Wonoti Program at wonoti@sierracollege.edu.

Campus Club

Consider joining the Native American and Pacific Islander Club offered at the Rocklin Campus.

Native American-focused Classes

Consider registering for one or more of these class offerings at Sierra College to learn more about your Native American roots, including the people, history tribal nations, languages, and cultural, artistic and social practices.

ANTH 0004 – Native Peoples of North America
ANTH 0007 – Native Peoples of California
HIST 0025 – Native American History
SSCI 0041 – Introduction to Native American Studies
SSCI 0045 – Native American Cultures and the Impact of Federal Policy
SSCI 0010 – Introduction to Ethnic Studies
SSCI 0050 – Ethnic Images in Film

Community Resources

There are several community resources for our Native American community in Sacramento and Placer County, which provide assistance for various needs.

Meet Your Support Team

Designated Faculty for Native American Students

Dr. Melissa Leal, Wonoti Program Coordinator, is Esselen/Ohlone, teaches Social Sciences and Anthropology, and is the Tribal Liaison at Sierra College. Please reach out to her with any questions.
Email: mleal@sierracollege.edu

Dianna Tiger, Wonoti Program Counselor, is Creek/Choctaw/Seminole and is also a counselor for the RISE Program, an academic support program for students attending college for the first time. Please reach out to her with any questions.
Email: dtiger2@sierracollege.edu

Matt Malepeai, Enrollment Specialist, is Samoan and works specifically with the Wonoti Program to assist in enrollment, registration, and recruitment.
Email: mmalepeai@sierracollege.edu

Native American Student Equity Workgroup Members

Dr. Matt Archer teaches Anthropology and is a member of the Native American Student Equity Workgroup. Please reach out to him with any questions.
Email: marcher@sierracollege.edu

Dr. Tamara Cheshire teaches Anthropology and is a member of the Native American Student Equity Workgroup. Please reach out to her with any questions.
Email: tcheshire1@sierracollege.edu

Ralph De Unamuno is Chicano, teaches History and is a member of the Native American Student Equity Workgroup. Please reach out to him with any questions.
Email: rdeunamuno@sierracollege.edu

 

Additional Student Support

Brenna Chapman teaches Art History. Please reach out to her with any questions about the Art Department.
Email: bchapman@sierracollege.edu
Phone: 916-660-8097

Mindee Purscell is a Northern Nevada Paiute and is available to assist you with any Financial Aid questions you may have, including scholarships, grants and loans.
Email: mpurscell@sierracollege.edu
Phone: 916-660-7571

Flo Charlie is Samoan and co-leads the Guardian Scholars Program and NextUp Program, which provides services to current or former foster youth attending Sierra College. She is available to assist with any questions you may have about these programs.
Email: fcharlie@sierracollege.edu
Phone: 916-660-7465

 

Contact the Native American and Pacific Islander Resource Room

Nimasianexelpasaleki (Thank you)

Melissa Leal, Ph.D.
Enrolled Member - Ohlone/Costanoan Esselen Nation
Tribal Liaison, Wonoti Program Coordinator and Part-time Faculty, Social Science and Anthropology
Phone: 916-660-7551
Email: mleal@sierracollege.edu