AnMarie Mendoza was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley and identifies with both the original people (Gabrieleno-Tongva) and the distinctive working-class communities of the area. AnMarie is a proud first-generation transfer student from Citrus Community college who has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Masters in American Indian Studies from UCLA. Generations of her family have witnessed, endured, and contributed to the molding of Los Angeles (Occupied Tongva territory) and it is for this reason she continues her academic study in Urban Planning at UCLA. Her scholarship focuses on the barriers and opportunities that local Native Nations and indigenous people face in participating in proposed water projects in Los Angeles.
She has a passion for political organizing and is Indigenous Waters Program Director for Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples, an indigenous led grass roots organization based in Los Angeles. As program director, she works with Native Nations, universities, environmental organizations, institutions and agencies to protect fresh and saltwater and coastal areas significant to Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples to build the capacity of current and future tribal leaders to advocate effectively on behalf of their people for the protection of water.
AnMarie is cocreator and director of the “Aqueduct Between Us,” a five-part social justice multimedia radical oral history documentary that aims to educate the people of Los Angeles about the Indigenous communities (Tongva –Gabrieleno and the Owens Valley Paiute/ Shoshone) who have been greatly impacted by their land and water use. Topics covered in the documentary include: an introduction of each tribal community, their lifestyle precontract and post-contact, shared colonial struggles, contemporary environmental injustice issues, and conservation/wealth disparities in Los Angeles. Documentary can be accessed below.
AnMarie is presently the Sawyer Seminar Fellow on Sanctuary Spaces for the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy