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Šináata Scholarship

The Šináata scholarship ensures that the entire cost of attending Whitman College will be covered for enrolled members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) who are selected. It may also be awarded to indigenous students from other parts of the Pacific Northwest or who have close ties to the CTUIR.

The cost of attendance includes tuition, room and board, books, supplies and a transportation allowance. In covering the comprehensive cost of attending Whitman, the Šináata scholarship is Whitman’s most generous scholarship.

Applying for the Šináata Scholarship

Students who wish to be considered for the Šináata scholarship are encouraged to submit the Common App to Whitman College on or before the Jan. 15 application deadline. Applications submitted after Jan. 15 may also be considered. Students should note their affiliation with CTUIR either by listing a ​​tribal identity or affiliation in the Demographics section of the Common App or by contacting Whitman’s Office of Admission at admission@whitman.edu

As with other applicants to Whitman, potential Šináata scholars should also submit the FAFSA to Whitman. Any federal grants a student qualifies for will be used to meet the cost of attending Whitman. Similarly, any outside scholarship a Šináata scholar receives will go toward meeting the cost of attending Whitman.

Continuing Collaboration: Why Šináata?

The Šináata scholarship honors the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla peoples and represents the close and continuing collaboration between the college and the tribes. It builds on a number of other educational initiatives developed under the framework of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that Whitman initially signed with the CTUIR in 2017 and renewed in 2022.

Tamastslikt Cultural Institute, the cultural education arm of the CTUIR, proposed the name Šináata [pronounced shin-AHH-tah] for the scholarship. Bobbie Conner, the director, explained the meaning behind it.

“This name is in the original Cayuse language and was prepared and submitted by Dr. Phillip Cash Cash, linguistic anthropologist and CTUIR member, and means ‘to seek.’ This name was recommended to provide the CTUIR and Whitman College the opportunity to actively use an Old Cayuse term in modern time as a signal that the language is still in use. It also provides an occasion to align the ancient practice of vision seeking with the pursuit of higher education, seeking knowledge, enlightenment, and insight.”

According to Dr. Cash Cash, the use of Old Cayuse terms “can only help elevate a greater awareness of the Cayuse language and how it contributes to the linguistic diversity of the Plateau cultural region. It must be understood that every opportunity to use our ancestral Cayuse language advances its status from ‘extinction’ into a new kind of language use. Such use bears cultural and scientific significance that cannot be overstated given today’s historical moment.”

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