Sports provide an important but underutilized path to college for Native students

 

Last updated 9/30/2022 at 1:16pm

Charlotte West for Open Campus

Deontay Begay, a Navajo student from New Mexico, plays basketball for Northwest Indian College, a tribal college in Bellingham, Wash.

LONG BEACH, Calif.-Two years ago, Deontay Begay was overjoyed when he and his twin brother, Deondre, were recruited to play basketball for Northwest Indian College. It was a way to explore the world beyond Sheep Springs, a rural community of 250 on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico.

But the pandemic ultimately meant his first basketball season was canceled, as was his move to Bellingham, Wash., where the tribal college is located on the Lummi Nation.

Begay, who is Navajo, spent his first year of college studying online through his phone's hotspot from home.

"Sports was a way to get to colleg...



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