Brittani R. Orona is an enrolled member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe and received her Ph.D. in Native American Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Human Rights at UC Davis in Spring 2022. She is currently an Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University and Board Secretary for Save California Salmon, an Indigenous led non-profit dedicated to healthy rivers and fisheries in California. Her dissertation to manuscript project evaluates Hupa, Yurok, and Karuk perspectives of grassroots activism, traditional ecological knowledge, and environmental health through dam removal efforts and cultural rights movements on the Klamath River Basin. Brittani studies how Indigenous communities perpetuate their visions of the world through performance, film, museum exhibition, and art in large scale environmental justice movements.
Brittani has 15 + years of experience working with federal, state, and local government. She previously worked as the Tribal Affairs Program Manager for the California Department of Parks and Recreation where she worked closely with federally and non-federally recognized tribes to highlight the continued environmental stewardship, survival, and resilience of California Indian people. Prior to joining State parks, Brittani worked for the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) as an Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs Specialist. While at DTSC, Brittani led the development and implementation of the DTSC Tribal Consultation Policy, the CEQA (AB 52), and Permitting Departmental Memorandum establishing how regulatory programs consult and interact with California Indian tribes, and the development of the DTSC Civil Rights and Language Access policies. She has also worked at the California Government Operations Agency, California State Archives, the Maidu Museum and Historic Site, and the National Museum of the American Indian (Repatriation Department) in Washington DC.
Academically and professionally, she is engaged in repatriation, Indigenous law, cultural resources management, Indigenous environmental justice, and environmental history as they relate to California Indian Tribes and indigenous communities internationally. She is a proud third generation graduate of Cal Poly Humboldt (B.A. History) and Sacramento State University (M.A. Public History).
Fellow at a Glance
San Diego State University
Environmental Policy & Law
Natural Resource Management