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Dr. Octaviana Trujillo (1997-2001)

A picture of Dr. Octaviana and her friends

Octaviana V. Trujillo (Yaqui), Ph.D., is Founding Chair and Professor of the Department of Applied Indigenous Studies at Northern Arizona University and teaches courses on Tribal Nation Building. Dr. Trujillo has been part of the faculty at three State universities, including director of the Center for Indian Education at Arizona State University. During her tenure at ASU, she led the CIE’s proposal development and received external funding from US Department of Education; Funds for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education, Office of Indian Education, Office of Educational Research Initiative, Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs; US Environmental Protection Agency and the MacArthur Foundation. Professor Trujillo served as the editor of the Center’s refereed professional publication, Journal of American Indian Education and launched the JAIE to the World Wide Web. She provided leadership in the University’s outreach to Native American communities, organized the CIE 40th year celebration and was awarded the “American Indian Recognition Days” for community service.

A primary focus of her work as a former tribal leader has been developing programs that take advantage of her academic and human rights advocacy training to Indigenous communities. As the first chairwoman of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, she established the first tribal education department and secured funding for a number of seminal education and social services programs, including a US Health and Human Services international research grant between the her tribe and the Bedouin community of the Negev Desert in Israel. Dr. Trujillo has developed indigenous community health outreach programs with funding from the National Institutes of Health and has partnered with the National Council for Science and Environment, American Indian Higher Education Consortium, Tribal Colleges and Universities on climate research and curriculum development. Professor Trujillo serves on local, national and international boards; including Alliance of Indigenous Peoples without Borders, the mission is to affirm the rights of Indigenous peoples, their right to self-determination, their collective human and civil rights, the rights of sovereignty and the protection of sacred sites, and the free unrestricted movement across international borders and the Global Diversity Foundation, which promotes agricultural, biological and cultural diversity around the world through research, training and social action. Dr. Trujillo serves on the University of Winnipeg, President’s Advisory Circle for First Nations and was appointed by President Obama to serve as a member to the Joint Public Advisory Committee for the North America Commission on Environmental Cooperation.

Dr. Trujillo’s studies have been augmented through such activities as a Fulbright Fellowship in India, attending the Instituto Cultural de Guanajuato in Mexico, participating in study sessions of the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, and the Salzburg Institute in Austria, and Visiting Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich, Germany. She has traveled extensively internationally related to her own research interests, as a Kellogg Foundation Leadership Fellow, and in conjunction with UN international community development and human rights delegations.  Professor Trujillo has been the recipient of a number of academic and leadership fellowships including Newberry Library, Rockefeller Foundation, and Smithsonian. Dr. Trujillo has also facilitated international learning experiences for students, such as National Science Foundation undergraduate research through indigenous faculty and student exchange in environmental sciences with Gorno-Altai University, Siberia, and for the seminar Round table—Living with radioactive contamination: A discussion between generations in Kiev, Ukraine and USAID secondary school indigenous student exchange in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She has served as Fulbright Faculty for the US State Department, Indigenous Student Leadership Development Seminar in Sololá, Guatemala and in Caracas, Venezuela.