D–Q University

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Coordinates: 38°34′02″N 121°53′13″W / 38.567093°N 121.886959°W / 38.567093; -121.886959

D-Q University logo

D–Q University was a two-year college located on Road 31 in Yolo County, 6.7 miles (10.8 km) west of State Route 113 in California. The school ended its full-time college schedule due to loss of accreditation, declining enrollment, and alleged financial mismanagement in 2005; however students and instructors who remained on campus have continued to use the campus for classes, gatherings, and ceremonies.


The full name of the school is Deganawidah-Quetzalcoatl University.[1] According to Iroquois leaders, use of the spelled-out name of the university can be offensive because the first part of the name should be used only in an appropriate spiritual context. Therefore, it is usually referred to as D–Q University to avoid offense. Iroquois tribal members, in certain circumstances, may use the full name.


The purpose of D–Q University was to provide alternative ideas and methods of education to Native American people. Among its goals were 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 could not attend the school itself, and the maintenance of social and personal support systems for D-Q students and staff.


Founded in 1971, D-Q was the only all-Native American college in California and faced severe financial and accreditation issues. The school was one of the first six tribal colleges in the United States, all of which were founded between 1968 and 1972. Those six colleges created the American Indian Higher Education Consortium in 1972. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes 34 tribal colleges, the majority of which are two-year institutions.[1]

The site of D-Q was previously used as a United States Army communications facility,[2] known at various times as the Sacramento Valley Radio Transmitting Station; West Coast Relay and Transmitter Station; U.S. Army West Coast Relay and Radio Transmitting Station; and the U.S. Army Strategic Communications Command - CONUS, Davis California, Facility. The site was also used at one time by the Department of the Army, Signal Corps, to support the Signal Corps Radio Station WVY.

After the federal government decommissioned the site, the organizers of the school applied to use it, based on a law which required surplus federal land to be returned to Native Americans. The application was initially denied, but after a series of protests, the University of California withdrew its application to use the site for its Native American Studies program and a primate lab, and D–Q University was conditionally granted the land in 1970.

The school opened in 1971, and obtained accreditation in 1977, but lost it in 2005, after which it closed.[2] However, disputes among the board of trustees were settled in a lawsuit which resulted in the re-opening of D–Q University later that year. Declining enrollment and lack of funds led the board to dismiss the president in June 2006. While formal classes are not currently being held, elders and teachers have occupied the University grounds despite Board and police pressures to vacate the land.[2][3][4] During several instances in 2008, students and supporters were arrested for occupying the grounds.[2]

In the early 1990s, the history of D-Q University and an alleged federal government two-decade long campaign to destroy it were the subject of what was to have been a feature length documentary film A Free People, Free To Choose.[5] Jan Crull, Jr., the filmmaker, stopped the project when Morrison & Foerster, a law firm closely linked to D-Q U's legal battles, withdrew from the project because the film's subjects became involved in lawsuits with one another.

The school's community continues in hosting communities events, such as powwows, as recently as April 2009.[6] including presenting an indigenous permaculture course and other cultural classes.

D–Q University in September 2010, in conjunction with the Regenerative Design Institute hosted a Permaculture Design Course,[7][8][9] during which time Native Americans and non-Natives collaborated on site development proposals.[10]


  1. ^ a b Hindery, Robin. "California's only tribal college close to collapse after 35 years." North County Times. 13 Aug 2006 (retrieved 30 Aug 2009)
  2. ^ a b c d "Police Raid D-Q University: Eighteen Students, Elders and Supporters Arrested.". Indybay: Central Valley. 2 April 2008. Retrieved 30 Aug 2009. 
  3. ^ Valdata, Patricia (April 20, 2006). "The rebirth of D-Q University: determined to keep the dream alive, interim president Arthur Apodaca seeks to re-energize California's only two-year tribal college". Diverse Issues in Higher Education. 
  4. ^ Santillan, Guambry (March 31, 2008). "D-Q University Update: Arrests of Students and Elders". MEChA. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  5. ^ W.G.A.W. reg. No. 513853; an overview of the film project was presented and discussed at the D-Q U Board of Trustees' semiannual meeting on October 2, 1993; distribution interest was already in place before any footage was shot; in the 100 plus hours shot and assembled are lengthy interviews with David Risling and Jack D. Forbes
  6. ^ Norrell, Brenda. "DQ University Pow Wow: 39 Years Deed Day.". Censored News, Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights News. Retrieved 30 Aug 2009. 
  7. ^ Permaculture and Peacemaking
  8. ^ Peacemaking and Permaculture - Permaculture Design Certification Intensive
  9. ^ The Aggie: Learn about sustainable living and peacemaking at D-Q University
  10. ^ "Permaculture Design Certification Courses". Regenerative Design Institute. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 

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