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Research Projects

STATUS: In Progress YEAR: 2023 TOPIC AREA: Public transit, land use, and urban mobility Safety and security Sustainability, energy, and health CENTER: PSR

Tribal Transportation Oral History of Mobility: Understanding the Past to Improve Future Collaborations and Innovations

Project Summary

Project number: PSR-23-11
Funding source: USDOT
Contract Number69A3551747109
Funding amount: $85,000
Performance period: 10/1/2023 to 12/31/2024

Project description

This research project will utilize an oral history approach based on American Indian Studies disciplinary protocols and relationships to interview tribal leaders, workers, and key personnel engaging in tribal transportation and mobility work in San Diego County. San Diego County is home to 18 federally recognized Indian reservations governed by 17 distinct Tribal Nations [see map below]. In 2007, the San Diego Association of Governments reached out to the Southern California Tribal Chairman’s Association (SCTCA), a regional nonprofit tribal consortium founded following the American Indian Movement’s activism to lobby for Indian Self-Determination (1974-1976), to establish a Memorandum of Understanding for SCTCA to become an advisory member of SANDAG’s Board of Directors in addition to having representation on several other SANDAG committees, including the regional planning committee and the transportation committee. Because of this government-to-government framework, San Diego Tribal Nations have been able to elevate and amplify their priorities for regional transportation and mobility needs.1 This intergovernmental partnership between Tribal Nations and local or County governments is rare in California and one in which we seek to research via interviews with tribal leaders who have served as SANDAG representatives for SCTCA. The interviews of tribal leaders, past and present, and key tribal stakeholders in San Diego, will be used to document gaps, lessons learned, best practices, and areas for improvement in the relationship and engagement that Tribes in San Diego have with regional county and city partners. The research will provide a deeper and complex understanding of Southern California Tribal transportation needs.


Theresa Gregor
[email protected]