Joely Proudfit, Ph.D.
(Luiseño/Payómkawichum)
Founder And President

Joely Proudfit, Ph.D.
Founder And President

Joely is a descendant of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission Indians. Dr. Proudfit holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science with emphasis in public policy and American Indian studies from Northern Arizona University.

In 2016 she was appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education.

Dr. Proudfit serves as the Department Chair of the American Indian Studies Department and the Director of the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center (CICSC) at CSUSM and has previously served as a tenured associate professor of public administration and the founding director of the Tribal Government, Management and Leadership Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB). Dr. Proudfit served as the department chair of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University (SFSU). In addition to her academic positions, she was the first special advisor to the Honorable Cruz M. Bustamante, lieutenant governor of California, for California Indian Sovereign Nations in 2002.

Proudfit is well published in a wide variety of Native American issues and interests, which include: American Indian Film, Representation, Stereotypes; tribal sovereignty, federal Indian policy, tribal leadership and governance, California Indian political and contemporary issues, American Indian education, tribal health disparities and social justice issues.|

Proudfit served as a highly visible campaign spokesperson, participating in numerous television ads for both the Proposition 1A – California Constitutional Amendment, Indian Self-Reliance Initiative; and the Proposition 5 – Indian Self-Reliance Initiative. She has participated in a number of media venues and has testified before legislators on California Indian education issues and works with tribal leaders and state legislators to implement new legislation to benefit American Indians.

Proudfit’s professional expertise is extensive: Planning, implementing and evaluating regional and national tribal outreach, marketing, media and public relations programs; Strategic development of tribal government and community relations programs; Expertise in working with tribal governments; state, local, and community-based organizations; faith-based groups; schools; media outlets; and businesses; Public relations and strategic and crisis communications on behalf of tribal governments; writing, developing and delivering speeches, presentations and workshops; and organizing and conducting meetings and events, all for the purpose of gaining cooperation and support as well as initiating action; Developing culturally sensitive American Indian marketing materials and service as an in-house public relations counsel for several American Indian tribes.

Dr. Proudfit is President and Owner of Native Media Strategies, LLC a consulting company dedicated to creating inclusive strategies for media and entertainment professionals. Proudfit has worked on numerous high-profile film and tv projects such as the 2017 film by Scott Cooper, Hostiles featuring Christian Bale and Wes Studi as well as television shows such as Chelsea Handler’s “Chelsea and Chelsea Does.”

Dr. Proudfit is the recipient of numerous accolades for her work and community service such as: the 2013 Recipient, American Indian Educator of the Year, 36th Annual California Conference on American Indian Education, the California Teachers Association (CTA)’s Salute to Friends of Education Award, the Opportunities Unlimited 2002 Award in recognition of dedication and leadership by Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano and the CTA, and the John F. Kennedy, Jr. Award for Outstanding Public Service. Dr. Proudfit was the 2016 recipient of the KPBS American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero Award.