Institutional Research and Strategic Analytics

February 2021 - A New Methodology for Identifying Native Students at CSU, Chico

In many aspects of American politics, resources and power are allocated to various social groups relative to their size. The decennial U.S. Census is the best example of this: population counts are used to allocate proportional representation in Congress, as well as billions of dollars in funding for grants and social services. Quantitative and statistical data (such as numbers and proportions) also possess an “objective,” reality-defining quality in our culture that frequently obscures the all-too-human processes involved in their creation. How groups come to define and measure themselves, as well as how they are defined and measured by others, can therefore become powerful social tools for both empowerment and disempowerment.

In this month’s By The Numbers report, we explore these issues by looking at data on Native American student enrollment at CSU, Chico. We compare standard enrollment figures with those generated using a new methodology that incorporates self-reported data on tribal affiliation. This methodology is being developed by Institutional Research in collaboration with the Office of Tribal Relations at CSU, Chico, as well as with partners at Humboldt State University.

CSU, Chico By the Numbers 

Using a new methodology, Native American student enrollment at CSU, Chico in Fall 2020 shows a …

Bar graph comparing 92 versus 635

Of these Fall 2020 students…

Graphic showing 44% and 41% of students

Our two-page report (PDF) further explores the historical contexts and contemporary issues in demographic and educational data on Native Americans.

Learn more about the CSU Native American Initiative(opens in new window), currently being led by CSU, Chico President Gayle Hutchinson.

Further Reading:

Tribal Nations and the United States: An Introduction (National Congress of American Indians, 2020)(opens in new window)

Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives (National Center for Education Statistics, 2008) (PDF)