Paul Apodaca
(1951 - )
Ma'íí deeshgíízhiníí -- Coyote Pass People - Jemez People Clan

Paul Apodaca is an Artist and expert in Native American culture. He was born in Los Angeles and is of Mexican and Navajo descent. His grandma from his father's side was from the eastern side of the Navajo Reservation and moved to Garfield, NM in the early 1900s. His family moved to Los Angeles in the early 1920s. His grandmother died in the 1930s and his grandfather died in the 1960s. His mom was of the Ma'ii deeshgiishinii Clan, for as they used to say, she was Jemez Clan. His mother's family are also Mixton Indians from Mexico.

Apodaca obtained his Master's Degree in American Indian Studies from UCLA in 1995, and his Ph.D. Degree in Folklore and Mythology also from UCLA in 1999. He currently is Assistant Professor of American Studies at Chapman University in Orange, California, a Consultant to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, and a Consultant to the Walt Disney Corporation.

For seventeen years starting in the early 1970s, Apodaca was affiliated with the Bowers Museum (a museum of the cultural arts of the Pacific Rim, the Americas, African Art and California history) in Orange County, California, as Curator of American Indian Art, Artist-in-Residence, Head of the California History and Folk Art Collections, and Exhibiting Artist.

Throughout his career, Apodaca has worked with funding agencies like the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the California Arts Council, and the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department. Apodaca was a Consultant to Knott’s Berry Farm and the Los Angeles Festival in the early 1990s.

In addition, he has held academic appointments at California State University Fullerton, and the University of California Irvine. His numerous awards include: the Orange County Human Rights Award, the Smithsonian Institution Museum Professional Award, and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Award for Broken Rainbow (1986), a documentary film that helped to stop the relocation of twelve thousand Navajos in northern Arizona. Apodaca wrote and played the musical score for the film and did much of the research. He is also responsible along with Henry Koerper of Cypress College and Jon Erikson of the University of California Irvine, for California state legislation that made an eight thousand year old carving of a bear in San Diego County the State Prehistoric Artifact. Apodaca continues to be an important figure in Hispanic, Native American, and arts communities at the national and state levels.

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Updated: 04/28/2010
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