Joely Proudfit (Luiseño), Ph.D., is a descendant of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission Indians. Her maternal grandmothers are Lupe Grijalva Guerrero, Refugia Flores Grijalva Zuniga, Candelaria Flores and Juana Hapish, and she is of the Ngeesikat clan. 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 and a B.A. in political science with emphasis in public law from California State University Long Beach. As the first member of her family to complete a high school diploma, she serves as a role model for native youth and encourages self-determination through knowledge and education. Dr. Proudfit is one of only a few American Indians with a Ph.D. in political science and was the first recipient of the American Political Science Association Native Fellows Program.
An associate professor, Dr. Proudfit has been tenured three times in the CSU system. In fall 2008, she joined the faculty at CSU San Marcos, where she plays a leadership role in curriculum development and delivery, including collaborating with departments, programs and tribal communities to develop and deliver curriculum relevant to native studies and communities. Dr. Proudfit is the Director of the newly established California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center (CICSC) at CSUSM. The mission of the CICSC is to foster collaborative study and community service relationships among the faculty, staff and students of CSUSM, and members of local Tribal communities, for the purpose of developing and conducting research projects that support the maintenance of sovereignty and culture within those communities.
Prior to coming to CSUSM, Dr. Proudfit served as a tenured associate professor of public administration and the director of the Tribal Government, Management and Leadership Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. A political scientist, she takes an interdisciplinary approach to her wide variety of research interests, which include: tribal sovereignty, federal Indian policy, tribal leadership and governance, California Indian political and contemporary issues, American Indian education, mass media, tribal telecommunications and social justice issues. She has presented her research at numerous conferences and media forums, and published numerous essays and articles including: "In the Trenches: A Critical Look at the Isolation of American Indian Political Practices in a Non-Empirical Social Science" in the book Indigenizing the Academy, "Native American Gaming in California" in the book Native Americans (part of the American Political History Series published by the Congressional Quarterly Press) and "From Activism to Academics: The Evolution of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State 1968-2001" in the Indigenous Nations Studies Journal. Dr. She is the author of a forthcoming book on American Indian political power in the new millennium (published by the University of Texas Press).
Dr. Proudfit also served as the department chair of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University. 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.
Dr. Proudfit has taught a wide range of both graduate and undergraduate courses including: American Indian Politics, Tribal Government Management, Business Government Relations, American Indians and U.S. Laws, Images and Issues in the Mass Media, Tribal Government Gaming and Economic Development, American Government and Politics, American Indians: Stereotypes and Realities in the Mass Media, Power and Politics in American Indian History, and Federal Indian Law and Administration.
Dr. Proudfit also served as the lead and only AIAN consultant for the 2010 Census for the LA Region AIAN outreach campaign.
Dr. Proudfit is the owner of Naqmayam Communications, an independent, full-service, California Indian-owned and -operated public relations agency. Naqmayam Communications, aka NaqCom, promotes socially conscious marketing and consumer and cultural education. NaqCom also offers expertise in developing and implementing communication strategies to successfully build consensus and brand loyalty among Native American communities. Dr. Proudfit holds positions on numerous boards and committees, such as: 2nd vice chair for the Native American Caucus of the California Democratic Party, board member of the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, executive director of the California Indian Professors Association and member of the Verizon Community Collaborative Board.
Committed to serving the American Indian community in a number of capacities, she 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. Dr. Proudfit also is the executive producer for the upcoming documentary entitled, "I is not for Indian," which explores the controversy behind how Native American curriculum is taught in our public schools. She has participated in a number of media venues such as National Public Radio, television and news specials on issues relating to tribal gaming, social justice, American Indian political development, Native American graves protection and repatriation, and California Indians. She has testified before state legislators on California Indian education issues and works with tribal leaders and state legislators to implement new legislation to benefit American Indians.
Dr. Proudfit is the recipient of numerous accolades for her work and community service such as: 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.