About Us


The Native Resource Center at San Diego State University, residing on Kumeyaay Land, facilitates the academic and personal success of Native American and Indigenous identified students through: relevant and accessible programming and resources, services to identify and address barriers to academic achievement, community building, on and off-campus partnerships, and advocacy for the inclusion of Native American/Indigenous peoples’ unique histories, cultures, and perspectives in campus programs and curriculum. 

The Native Resource Center at SDSU:

  • Creates, sustains, and strengthens an open, inclusive gathering space and an environment for all persons, specifically those who identify as American Indian, Native American/Hawaiian, Alaska Native, First Nations, or Indigenous.
  • Uses culturally relevant methods to promote scholarship, to foster leadership, personal and professional growth, and to cultivate community for students through the committed, collaborative effort and support of faculty, staff, and the greater SDSU community.
  • Creates, collaborates, and implements support programs and services which aid in the recruitment, retention, success, and graduation of all students, specifically those who self-identify as Native American.
  • Provide a welcoming space for Native students, faculty and staff in order to cultivate a sense of belonging and enhance the university’s ability to recruit Native people for these positions.
  • Provides resources and support services to address the unique needs and challenges of students who may experience discrimination, alienation, disenfranchisement, misrepresentation, harassment, intimidation or other barriers to student success as a result of their race or ethnicity.
  • Promotes and celebrates global, regional, and local Indigenous cultures and languages 
  • Advocates for social justice and equity for all, for a campus climate free of prejudice and oppression, for community building, and for the celebration of SDSU’s rich cultural and social diversity.

The Native Resource Center Core Pillars:

  •   Decolonization & Sovereignty
    • Mental Aspect
    • Wisdom and Logic
  • Truth, Education and Growth
    • Spirtual Aspect 
    • Illumination and Enlightenment
    • Learning Self
  • Indigenous Philosophies and Identity
    • Emotional Aspect
    • Trust
  • Health and Wellness
    • Physical Aspect
    • Introspection and Insight

Previous Staff

  • 2020-2021 Staff
    • Elybeth Alcantar- NRC Graduate Assistant
    • Andrew Mutsalklisana- NRC Graduate Assistant 
    • John Mollet- EY Graduate Assistant
    • Corina Tsinnajinnie- EY Graduate Assistant
    • Isaiah Balentine- EY Peer Mentor
    • Jessica Becenti- EY Peer Mentor
    • Jerimy Billy- EY Peer Mentor
    • Britney Domine- EY Peer Mentor
    • Mateo Gin Tarango- EY Peer Mentor
    • Shenelle Mason- EY Peer Mentor
    • Jennifer Rodriguez-EY Peer Mentor
    • Olivia Thomas- EY Peer Mentor 
    • Alexandria Ybarra- EY Peer Mentor
    • Leah Chavez- NRC Program Assistant
    • Susie Gallo- NRC Program Assistant
    • Haley Moore- NRC Program Assistant
    • Vanessa Wingate- NRC Program Assistant
    • Joanna Younes- NRC Program Assistant
  • 2021-2022 Staff
    • Mariam Ahmed- NRC Graduate Assistant
    • Annah Ceballos- EY Peer Mentor
    • Derrick Herrera- EY Peer Mentor/NRC Program Assistant
    • Jerimy Billy- EY Peer Mentor/NRC Program Assistant 
    • Jessica Becenti- EY Peer Mentor/NRC Program Assistant
    • Mateo Gin Tarango- EY Peer Mentor/ NRC Program Assistant
    • Shenelle Mason- EY Peer Mentor/ NRC Program Assistant
    • Skylar Morales- EY Peer Mentor/ NRC Program Assistant
    • Aiyiana Tiger-Mantanona- NRC Program Assistant
    • Santino Arellano- NRC Program Assistant
  • 2022-2023 Staff
    • Vanessa Lopez- NRC Graduate Assistant
    • Jennifer Rodriguez- EY Graduate Assistant
    • Olivia Thomas- EY Graduate Assistant
    • Aiyiana Tiger-Mantanona- EY Peer Mentor/ NRC Program Assistant
    • Derrick Herrera- EY Peer Mentor/ NRC Program Assistant
    • Avellaka Majel- EY Peer Mentor/ NRC Program Assistant
    • Ouseli Gomez- NRC Program Assistant
    • Skylar Morales-  NRC Program Assistant
    • Paul Aguirre- EY Peer Mentor/ NRC Program Assistant
    • Vanessa Hernandez- EY Peer Mentor
    • Justice Herrera- NRC Program Assistant

Center Staff

Chris headshot

Chris Medellin


[email protected]

Raised in San Diego, Chris and his family are from the Tule River tribe of Yokuts of Central California. As a first generation student, he earned his bachelor's degree in Television, Film and New Media and American Indian Studies from San Diego State University (SDSU) as well as his Masters degree in Postsecondary Educational Leadership with a Specialization in Student Affairs. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at SDSU and Claremont Graduate University. His research focuses are in Native American identity formation, masculine identity formation, issues of access to higher education and decolonization methodologies. Chris has been a student leader and a mentor for programs supporting underrepresented and underserved communities. Working his way through various roles on campus including serving as a student assistant, an administrative support, to an outreach coordinator, he currently serves as the inaugural Director of the SDSU Native Resource Center. Chris also serves as the President of the American Indian Alumni Chapter of San Diego State, and founding member of the Native American and Indigenous Faculty Staff Association as well as the Men of Color Alliance at SDSU. 

Commitment to San Diego State:

Chris was in the SDSU Guardian Scholars program as a student who was formerly in the foster care system having spent periods of time residing in group homes. As a student leader on campus, he served as the Vice President for Loss Prevention and President for Delta Upsilon Fraternity, while also serving as the Vice President of the Native American Student Alliance. Additionally, Chris mentored Guardian Scholar students for two-years through the SOAR mentoring program offered by Office of Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) and was one of the first mentors for the Elymash Yuuchaap Indigenous Scholars and Leaders Program founded in 2013. In recognition for his work specifically with Native American students, Chris received the “Strengthening Student Connection to SDSU” award from the Division of Student Affairs.  He has represented SDSU in the CSU Chancellors office, Native American Initiatives Committee and Men of Color Consortium. Chris is dedicated to supporting and serving marginalized communities and Native American communities who are connected to SDSU and beyond.


Haley Okamoto

Assistant Director


Welina mai! Haley Kanoelani Okamoto (she/her) was born and raised in her ancestral homeland on the island of Kauaʻi in Hawaiʻi. She recently received my Masters in Education through the College Student Services Administration program at Oregon State University. Her area of specialization, Native Hawaiian and Pasifika Student Success, was gained through her work of re-conceptualizing a Community Cultural Wealth model through Kānaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) pedagogy. Additionally, she was an intern and volunteer in various Pasifika academic/higher education spaces. Her bachelor’s degree was also done in Oregon at Portland State University where she got her B.A. in Communication Studies. Lastly, some of her hobbies are going for runs along the ocean, making leis, and learning more about the Hawaiian moon calendar.


Matt Fowler

Matt Fowler

Faculty Scholar - Elymash Yuuchaap Program

Matt Fowler is originally from the Inland Empire region of Southern California, and has spent portions of his life in Baltimore, Maryland before relocating to San Diego. He is of Indigenous P’urhépecha, Chichimeca, and Irish descent. A great deal of his work centers around radicalism, Indigeneity, survivance, environmentalism, reclamation and preservation, hemispheric and transnational studies, sociopolitical criticism, abolition, queer theory, cults, social milieus and movements, and militancy.

Matt holds an A.A. degree from Harford Community College, a B.A. in Literature and Writing Studies from California State University San Marcos, and a Creative Writing M.F.A. from San Diego State University. Matt is the Faculty Scholar for SDSU’s Native Resource Center, and works as a part-time Lecturer in the Department of American Indian Studies.

Matt is a Sarah B. Marsh-Rebelo Award recipient, and his work can be found in online and print publications including PRISM International, Quarterly West, Sycamore Review, The Los Angeles Review, Homology Lit Mag, GlitterMob, and elsewhere. He is currently working on a full-length manuscript. In his spare time, he enjoys relaxing with his dog, reading, writing, analog photography, bicycling, skateboarding, traveling, hiking, and backpacking.



Assistant Coordinator

[email protected] 

This position is currently vacant and we are actively searching for new candidates.


Native Resource Center: Student Assistants (2022-23)