Octaviana V. Trujillo (Yaqui), Ph.D., is the 2023 chair of the CEC’s Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC), having been first appointed as a member of JPAC by US President Barack Obama in 2015. She is founding Chair and Professor Emerita in the Department of Applied Indigenous Studies at Northern Arizona University and the former chairwoman of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona. She has spent her career advocating for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and developing educational courses, initiatives, and programs to support Tribal Nation Building and Indigenous communities, especially with regard to sustaining Indigenous languages, cultures and lifeways, and working with Indigenous youth.
She is a current Soros Equality Fellow and the 2021 American Educational Research Association, Indigenous Peoples of the Americas Research awardee for outstanding scholarship. She is also an advisory board member to Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras, whose mission is to affirm the rights of Indigenous Peoples, including their right to self-determination, their collective human and civil rights, the rights of sovereignty and the protection of sacred sites, and their right to free and unrestricted movement across international borders. Trujillo also served as an active national member of the American Friends Service Committee and Farmworker Justice, working to foster community-based resources for promoting social justice.
Her extensive international experience as researcher, mediator, and advisor on the topics of human and Indigenous rights includes participation in the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and serving on the EPA Governmental Advisory Committee, which helps to shape US policies that are intended to improve environmental and health conditions in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, and the Global Diversity Foundation, which promotes agricultural, biological, and cultural diversity around the world through research, training and social action.