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New Executive Director

Eric Sanchez is both Navajo and Mexican and hails from Long Beach, California. Eric’s clans are Kinyaa’aanii and Nakai Dine, while his father is Tejano from San Antonio, Texas. Eric believes strongly in honoring all sides of his heritage. 

Eric has worked as a Partnership Specialist with the United States Census Bureau, a Research Analyst with the Tribal Learning Community and Educational Exchange (TLCEE) program, Program Associate with the Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations (LDIR) program and most recently worked as a Care Coordinator for Seven Generations Child and Family Services with United American Indian Involvement (UAII) in downtown Los Angeles. Eric earned three degrees at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science, a Juris Doctorate in Law, and a Masters in American Indian Studies at UCLA. 

Eric was very involved during his time at UCLA, serving as a member of the American Indian Student Association, Native American Law Students Association, the Indigenous Peoples’ Journal of Law, Culture and Resistance, and as staff/volunteer with the American Indian Recruitment (AIR) project. During his studies at UCLA, Eric was able to work with Indigenous communities in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Brazil, and was trained in various indigenous methodologies, especially in terms of research and organizing.

Currently he serves on the boards of the American Indian Community Council, Pukúu Cultural Community Services and the American Indian Alumni of UCLA. Additionally, Eric has participated in a grassroots group called Furthering Indian Rights in Education (FIRE) that specializes in educational advocacy work. Eric also served as a representative for the Indian Children Welfare Act (ICWA) Stakeholders Roundtable, and played a contributory role in the development of Los Angeles County’s online Native Foster Family Agency. 

In 2016, Eric helped restart the Youth Leadership Journey after its hiatus, and has worked tirelessly in youth programming in the last few years. Eric believes that it is important to cultivate and support up-and-coming activists, and has been a key supporter of creating mechanisms to support such work, such as the scholarship for American Indian activists at UCLA called the Crystal Dawn Roberts-Mesa Alumni Scholarship- which Eric considers to be one of his most important accomplishments. 

Eric has worked for many years to cooperate and collaborate with a host of community, grass-roots, and institutional leaders to attempt to effectuate positive change in the Los Angeles American Indian community- whether that be through organizing community pow wows, working with educational centers to open their campuses to the Native community, or by encouraging partnerships that truly help those most in need. Eric hopes to continue to make a positive difference in the years ahead.