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Joel Arellano

Indigenous Land Stewardship Specialist

Joel Arellano is an enrolled member of the Pechanga Band of Indians and is a descendant of Payómkawish, Desert Cahuilla, and Zacatecas family lineage. Through his role in helping facilitate the Climate Science Alliance’s Stewardship Pathways program and other fire-related planning, Joel works to advance Indigenous land stewardship practices and return people, plant, and animal relatives back to the land. 


Joel is a practitioner and life-long student of traditional Payómkawish sciences and culture. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies through Cal Poly Humboldt, with focused work in Indigenous Natural Resources, Federal Indian Law, and Fire Ecology. He also currently holds NWCG FFT2 Wildland fire certification. 

Working primarily for his tribal nation over the years, Joel has strived to uphold kinship bonds and ancestral rights and responsibilities before all else. He has chaperoned and worked as a youth cultural instructor at Pechanga since 2010 and assisted in various technical and archival work with his tribe’s departments relating to native plant identification, management, and propagation. Along with a group of fellow members, he privately protects and manages a 327 acre ranch of traditional Payómkawish/Cahuilla homelands, caring for the space for food, medicine, and habitat.


Joel Arellano
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