Indigenous Leaders – 150 Years of Women
The AIGP program at UC Berkeley was established in 1971 in the School of Public Health. This initiative developed in response to a need for more American Indians and Alaska Natives in graduate study, and particularly health professions. Now a unit of the Office for Graduate Diversity, AIGP celebrates Indigenous leadership, advocacy, and research through mentorship and resources. With a strong sense of community, American Indian and Indigenous identified graduate students can realize their full academic potential at Berkeley. As we celebrate 150 Years of Women, we are not only celebrating the accomplishments of women, but the way they view the world and the impact they leave. These are some of the tremendous alumni that celebrate the legacies of women leadership at UC Berkeley.
Lanada War Jack, Distinguished Professor of Native American Law and Politics
LaNada War Jack is an enrolled member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho. She attended the University of California at Berkeley and majored in an Independent Major of Native American Law & Politics, graduating in 1970. While a student at UC Berkeley, War Jack participated as the Native American component of the Third Worlds Strike to establish the first Ethnic Studies Program in the UC statewide University system.
Deborah Ann Begay, Judge at Maricopa County Justice-Peace
On January 8 2020, Deborah Ann Begay became the first Native American to be elected as a judge with the Moon Valley Justice of the Peace in Maricopa County. Judge Begay earned her B.A. in Native American History from UC Berkeley in 2002 and her J.D. from Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law with a focus on Federal Indian Law. Begay is Naakai Dine’é born Kinyaa’áanii. Known as “Ann”, Begay was a McNair Scholar at UC Berkeley and worked in software project management in Silicon Valley post-graduation.
Amy Lonetree, Associate Professor of History
Amy Lonetree is an enrolled citizen of the Ho-Chunk Nation and an Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She received her Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Her scholarly research focuses on Indigenous history, visual culture studies, and museum studies.
Olivia Chilcote, Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies
Olivia Chilcote (Luiseño, San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians) received her B.A. in the Ethnic & Women’s Studies Department at Cal Poly Pomona and both M.A. and Ph.D. in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 2013 and 2017 respectively. She is currently an Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University. Her research and teaching focus on the areas of interdisciplinary Native American Studies, federal Indian law and policy, Native American identity, and Native California.
Jen Rose Smith, Assistant Professor of Geography and American Indian Studies
Dr. Jen Rose Smith is a dAXunhyuu (Eyak, Alaska Native) geographer interested in the intersections of coloniality, race, and indigeneity as read through aesthetic and literary contributions, archival evidences, and experiential embodied knowledges. An assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Geography Department and American Indian Studies program, she earned a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Comparative Ethnic Studies and a Master’s Degree from the same department. Smith graduated with a BA in English Literature and the Environment from the University of Alaska, Southeast.
Caitlin Keliiaa, Assistant Professor of History and Feminist Studies
Professor Caitlin “Katie” Keliiaa is an Indigenous Feminist Historian focused on Native American experiences in the Western Pacific region. She earned a B.A. in Native American Studies and Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley; an M.A., American Indian Studies from UCLA; and Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley in 2019. She explores the intersections of race, gender, and ethnicity and their historical consequences.
Beth Piatote, Associate Professor of Native American Studies
Beth Piatote is an associate professor of Native American Studies and an Interim Director of Center for Race & Gender. She is also a writer of short fiction, personal essay, drama, and academic essay. Beth is devoted to indigenous language revitalization, focusing on Nez Perce. She is Nez Perce, enrolled with Colville Confederated Tribes.
Acknowledgements This page was supported by Mary Tan, a recent graduate, and Patrick Naranjo, Director of AIGP.