Obama names Yaqui professor to environmental advisory panel

Octaviana Trujillo. Still image from Global Environments Summer Academy / Vimeo

A former chairwoman of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona has been named to an advisory panel that addresses environmental issues facing the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Octaviana Trujillo is a professor at Northern Arizona University. She will serve on the Joint Public Advisory Committee to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation at the request of President Barack Obama.

“I am confident that these experienced and hardworking individuals will help us tackle the important challenges facing America, and I am grateful for their service," Obama said as he announced the appointment of Trujillo and others to serve within the administration. "I look forward to working with them.”

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation was created by the United States, Canada and Mexico to implement the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, the environmental accord that accompanied the North American Free Trade Agreement. The public committee consists of five members from each of the three nations.

Trujillo, who was the first woman to serve as chair of her tribe, brings a unique perspective to the position. The Yaqui people live on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border and she has written about the connections between the now-separated communities.

Trujillo is one of two Native members on the committee. Justin Ferbey, who is from the Carcross Tagish First Nation in the Yukon, has served since July 2014.

Biographical information provided by the White House follows:
Octaviana Trujillo, Appointee for Member, Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Octaviana Trujillo is a Professor of Applied Indigenous Studies at Northern Arizona University (NAU), a position she has held since 2002. In 2011, she served as a Visiting Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. From 2002 to 2010, Dr. Trujillo concurrently served as Chair of the Department of Applied Indigenous Studies at NAU. Previously, from 1997 to 2001, Dr. Trujillo served as the Director of the Center for Indian Education at Arizona State University and from 1992 to1996 she served as Tribal Council Member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Dr. Trujillo was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Reading, Learning and Culture at the University of Arizona from 1991 to 1995, and Director of the American Indian Graduate Center from 1989 to 1991. She was the Tucson Unified School District’s Director of Native American Studies from 1985 to 1989. Dr. Trujillo received a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Arizona State University.

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