Olivia Chilcote

Ph.D. candidate, ethnic studies

Olivia Chilcote is a Ph.D. candidate in ethnic studies, a Ford Foundation dissertation fellow and a fellow for the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues. Her dissertation, "Beyond Recognition: Native Californian Identity and the Federal Acknowledgment Process," analyzes the connection between the federal acknowledgment process — a standardized system used by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to acknowledge tribes as sovereign nations — and community identity as it materializes in California. Using a case study of the San Luis Rey Band of Luiseño Mission Indians, she explores the intricacies of identities structured by legal definitions. Chilcote earned her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in ethnic and women's studies from California State Polytechnic University, and her master's degree in ethnic studies at UC Berkeley.