BMCC: What’s going on?

Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) has added instruction in the Umatilla language to Winter Courses.
Fred Hill, a language teacher at the Confederated Tribes Language Program, is teaching the first year Umatilla class.
Previously, the only language courses offered were first year Spanish and intermediate Spanish.
If they pass, students can use the Umatilla class for general elective credits.
According to, this course is an introduction of the Umatilla language, which is a Sahaptin derivative. Sahaptin is spoken by various tribes in Oregon and Washington, including the Umatilla, Warm Springs and Yakama, and is also spoken in many smaller communities, including by the people who live at the Celilo Village. Students will learn grammatical phrases and more. This winter class will start on Jan. 5.
For more information or to enroll in First Year Umatilla, speak with your BMCC advisor or visit

Native American Heritage Month Guest Speakers at BMCC

In November, BMCC Native American Club hosted events to commemorate Native American Heritage Month. Several speakers from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) took part in online webinars available for the community college staff and students.
Speakers included Wenix Red Elk, the public outreach and education coordinator in the Department of Natural Resources; Joey Lavadour, master weaver and teacher; General Council Chair Lindsey Watchman, a veteran of the Persian Gulf War; and Kelsey Burns, a drumming instructor at Nixyaawii Community School (NCS) and a Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center (YTHC) employee.
Speakers talked about traditional foods, the economic and cultural development of CTUIR, how culture is prevention, plus stories of basket weaving and more.
For more information or to see the zoom recordings, contact Annie Smith,

Student Government Donates to the Community

BMCC’s Associated Student Government (ASG) has been finding new and more socially-distanced to donate to communities located in Umatilla County.
ASG usually holds a Christmas Eve Community Dinner every year for community members and children.
The event, which feeds around 800 families, also consists of free toys and a picture with Santa.
Unfortunately, due to new COVID-19 restrictions, the ASG team has cancelled the dinner and has developed a donation plan. This year, the ASG team will identify non-profit organizations, groups and toy drives that are near each BMCC Campus.
This includes Pendleton, Hermiston, Milton-Freewater, and Baker campuses and surrounding areas for each campus, including Boardman and the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
Collectively, the ASG team will be donating more than $9,000.
The amount given to each location is based on the population size.
Some of the organizations are the Angel Tree, Warming Stations, and Salvation Army.

Tribal member Megan Van Pelt is the Associated Student Body President at Blue Mountain Community College. As a student, she defeated several professionals in the Native American Journalist Association’s Best News Photo contest in 2019.