Native Bruins: Past, Present & Emerging – Patrick Naranjo

This October we are highlighting Native Bruin Patrick Naranjo from the Santa Clara Pueblo tribe.

Dr. Foremost, I am a member of the Santa Clara Pueblo and a graduate from Haskell Indian Nations University. I hold an M.A. from UCLA in American Indian Studies with an emphasis on contemporary tribal cultural property protections. I am a very active member within my home community. My intentions are to break the historical barriers that are associated with Native students—so that a new generation can see themselves (fully) succeeding in prestigious institutions of higher education, working on Native-specific research.

I started my career in higher education as an assistant OMBUDS and Native Liaison at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), where I established a long-term foundation for UNLV’s leadership to collaborate with national, regional, and tribal Indian educational initiatives in the state of Nevada.

Prior to arriving at UC Berkeley, I also served as the Resource Coordinator for the UNLV Intersection, Academic Multicultural Resource Center. In that role, I was instrumental in developing and implementing campus-wide strategies to enhance the academic outcomes of students and establish strong Native American engagement. One of the projects that I am most proud of in the state of Nevada is working on the cultural areas associated with both Gold Butte and Basin & Range Monuments. I am now at UC Berkeley as the Director for the American Indian Graduate Program. I recently invited Professor Angela Riley and Professor Walter Echohawk to highlight my new efforts at Berkeley for Native students.

“Attending UCLA was one of the most reinforcing experiences I have had as a Native student, considering where I started from in Northern New Mexico on the reservation. The mentorship I received at UCLA allowed me to feel confident in my leadership. I feel that as a Native man, I have a responsibility to my home community in Santa Clara Pueblo and to our youth. I want younger people to know that attending graduate school is always attainable, even if they don’t have a lot to start with. One of my proudest moments was graduating with the ‘AIS Cohortness’ at UCLA along with my family, culture, and community.”