Who We Are


The grant leadership structure reflects collaboration and partnership with diverse California Indian tribal nations and peoples who have been impacted by the history of the missions. The CMS Coordinating Committee is composed of the 4 UC Faculty Principal Investigators and 4 California Indian Research Partners. The Coordinating Committee receives guidance from the Advisory Board.

Principal Investigators

Charlene Villaseñor-Black (UCLA)


Renya Ramírez (UCSC) (Ho-Chunk/Ojibwe, enrolled Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska)


Jennifer Scheper Hughes (UCR)


Ross Frank (UCSD)


California Indian Research Partners

Chair Valentin Lopez (Amah Mutsun)


Prof. Yve Chavez (Tongva)


Dr. Stan Rodriguez (Santa Ysabel/Kumeyaay)


Prof. Jonathan Cordero (Ohlone/Chumash)


Critical Missions Studies Coordinating Committee

Principal Investigators and the California Indian Research Partners form the Coordinating Committee

CMS California Indian Advisory Board (12-15 members)

Current board members (as of January 2020) include (in alphabetical order): Cutcha Risling Baldy (Hoopa Valley), Julia Bogany (Tongva/Gabrielino), Olivia Chilcote (San Luis Rey/Luiseño), Mike Connolly (Campo/Kumeyaay), Theresa Gregor (Iipay/Kumeyaay-Santa Ysabel/Yoéme), Oletha Leo (Viejas/Kumeyaay), Merri Lopez-Keifer (San Luis Rey/Luiseño), Deborah Miranda (Ohlone Costanoan Esselen), Rudy Ortega (Tataviam), Louise Ramirez (Ohlone Costanoan Esselen), Charles Sepulveda (Tongva/Acjachemen), Tishmal Turner (Rincon/Luiseño), Caroline Ward (Fernandino Tataviam), Nakia Zavala, (Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians).

New nominations are welcome.  Nominations can be emailed to any member of the Board or Coordinating Committee, or can be sent to: CriticalMissionStudies@chicano.ucla.edu 

Critical Mission Studies receives financial support from the UC Office of the President, Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives (MRPI), MRP-19-598854.