An Open Gate

The inaugural recipient of the Ohlone and Muwekma Ohlone Scholarship lays out plans to dig deeper into her cultural and ancestral history at SCU.

Isabella Gomez 8116
Isabella Gomez ’27 at SCU’s first Muweka Ohlone Cultural Campout. Photo by Mike Arnal.

The word “mission” evokes two things for Isabella Gomez ’27— first, the institution that missionized many of her ancestors, and second, her sense of purpose in attending a university that stands on her tribe’s homeland in order to gain greater recognition of her tribe’s history.

As SCU’s inaugural Ohlone and Muwekma Ohlone Scholarship recipient, Gomez has worked toward this goal since high school. She was hired as an intern under Associate Professor Amy Lueck, playing a key role on several projects, including a memorial to the 7,612 Indigenous people who died at Mission Santa Clara, an augmented reality tour of the campus’ Indigenous history, and a four-day cultural campout for Ohlone youth hosted at SCU.

Gomez hopes that projects like these will inspire her fellow Broncos to learn more about the land they live on. This knowledge, she says, is tied to respect—for the land, its history, the people who have passed, and their descendants.

As the first recipient of this scholarship, she plans to use her Santa Clara education to continue fighting for Indigenous representation and rights, not just here but also in her post-grad life. “Receiving this scholarship doesn’t end with me. It’s a form of healing for our community and it represents an open gate for all Ohlone youth.”

Read more on scu.edu: A School, a Tribe, and a Deepening Partnership

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