Dear campus community,
I am mourning the loss, both personally and on behalf of our Berkeley community, of Joseph A. Myers, a leader, advocate, attorney, faculty member, and mentor who advanced Indian American advocacy, legal education, and justice initiatives nationally, in California, and at Cal. He passed away on December 29, 2020.
The impact of his work and mentorship is broad and far-reaching, and I encourage you to read about his incredible life on the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues’ website, the center he co-founded in 2010. He received his J.D. from Berkeley Law and lectured in Native American Studies at UC Berkeley for 29 years, developing course content on Native California and teaching courses on federal Indian law and tribal government. His career included a series of remarkable accomplishments. He was the first California Indian (Pomo Indian) to join the California Highway Patrol. He founded the National Indian Justice Center and served as the associate director of the American Indian Lawyer Training Program, helping to reverse the termination of 17 California Indian Rancheriía communities. For his work in landmark cases and Native advocacy, he was awarded the California Peace Prize and Berkeley’s Peter E. Haas Public Service Award.
This is a huge loss for Berkeley and Native communities. His family will hold a celebration of life event once it is safe to gather again. For updated information, please visit the Joseph A. Myers Center website.