Olivia Chilcote, Ph.D.

ChilcoteAssistant Professor, NASA Faculty Adviser
Email: [email protected] | Office: AL-327

Olivia M. Chilcote (Luiseño/Payómkawichum, San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians) received her Ph.D. and M.A. in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley and her B.A. in the Department of Ethnic & Women’s Studies at Cal Poly Pomona. She is currently an Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University. Her research and teaching focus on the areas of interdisciplinary American Indian Studies, California Indian Studies, federal Indian policy, American Indian identity, and Indigenous feminisms. In 2021, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education nationally recognized Professor Chilcote as an "Emerging Scholar" for her community-based research and promise to make impactful changes to the professoriate. 

Professor Chilcote is the author of Unrecognized in California: Federal Acknowledgment and the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians (University of Washington Press, 2024). Unrecognized in California examines the distinct crisis of tribal federal recognition in California, the state with the most non-federally recognized tribes in the country. Grounded in the experience of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians, Unrecognized in California effectively demonstrates how unrecognized tribes assert their inherent legal powers to maintain community identity and rights to self-determination. Professor Chilcote's current manuscript project, Cháam Qéchyam: Reclaiming the San Luis Rey Village in California History, utilizes Indigenous feminist paradigms to alter accepted understandings of Luiseño/Payómkawichum people through community engaged and place-based reclamation processes. Her writing can also be found in California History, the Smithsonian's Handbook of the North American IndiansBoletín: Journal of the California Missions Studies Association, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, and News From Native CaliforniaProfessor Chilcote's research has been supported by the Ford Foundation, Critical Mission Studies (UC Office of the President), the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences (Duke University), the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues (UC Berkeley), the Institute of Governmental Studies (UC Berkeley), the UC Humanities Institute, and Pukúu Cultural Community Services (Fernandeño Tataviam Tribe). 

Professor Chilcote serves on the UC President's Native American Advisory Council, the CSU San Marcos President's Native Advisory Council, the California Scholars and Educators Advisory Committee for the California state Native American Studies Model Curriculum, and the California Department of Education's Tribal Regalia Task Force. She is also a founding member of the California Indian Studies and Scholars Association. At San Diego State University, Professor Chilcote has received Excellence in Service and Most Influential Faculty Mentor Awards. She co-founded the Native American and Indigenous Faculty and Staff Association and has served as Faculty Adviser to the Native American Student Alliance since 2018. Professor Chilcote grew up in the center of her tribe’s traditional territory in the North County of San Diego and is active in tribal politics and other community efforts. She is a first generation student and the first person in her tribe to receive a Ph.D.