On Sunday, October 27, 2019, Tribal President Rudy Ortega Jr. (pictured above) was honored at the Institute of American Cultures’ (IAC) 50th anniversary Gala celebration.

2019–20 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the American Indian Studies Center and the Interdepartmental Program at UCLA.

“The American Indian Studies Center – like the other ethnic studies centers – was born of social struggle: the struggle to carve out a space of belonging for Native students in an institution that was not created with them in mind,” shared Dr. Shannon Speed, Director of the American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. “A fourth generation tribal leader, President Ortega has worked closely over the years with the AISC, both in his role as tribal president and as the former Chair of the LA City and County Native American Indian Commission, on a variety of undertakings.”

“Today, my Tribe celebrates the relationship with this institution that would not have been made possible without people like Shannon Speed, who will come out on a moment’s notice to support and advocate for causes that benefit our community. We are grateful for the ways that the UCLA American Indian Studies Center has supported my Tribe and our people. As Dr. Speed eloquently explained, there have been years of collaboration. I’ve personally been involved with the Center for decades, and we hope that we can bring more positive changes, programs, and scholarships together for all American Indian Students for decades to come.”

Tribal President Rudy Ortega Jr.