Charles Sepulveda (Tongva and Acjachemen) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah in the Department of Ethnic Studies. He earned his PhD in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside in 2016. He grew up in California in the San Jacinto Valley, attended community college and graduated with a B.A. in American Studies from UC Santa Cruz. His fields of research and teaching include California Indian History, Ethnic Studies, Indigenous Feminist Studies, and Californio History.
He is currently at work on his first book project tentatively titled, Indigenous Nations v. Junípero Serra: Resisting the Spanish Imaginary. His first book project analyzes the development of what he has named the Spanish Imaginary, as a play on Emma Perez’s “colonial imaginary” – the historiography produced through the traditional discipline of history silencing and ignoring people of color, women and sexuality. It is within the imaginary that the atrocities against California Indians continue to be viewed positively and celebrated as is the case with Junípero Serra’s canonization in 2015. His recent publication “Our Sacred Waters: Theorizing Kuuyam as a Decolonial Possibility” analyzes the desecration of the Santa Ana River in southern California and critically traces the logics of domestication that impact both Native peoples and our environments. In this article he also encourages the development of indigenous theorizations to disrupt settler colonialism and suggests that settlers can become Kuuyam (the Tongva word for guests) to the caretakers of the land.