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Richard Bugbee

Elders' Indigenous Climate Fellow, 2020-2021

The Elders' Indigenous Climate Fellowship is a unique opportunity for a Tribal Elder to collaborate with, advise, and support the Climate Science Alliance team to elevate and incorporate the critical voice, perspective, and deep knowledge held by our Tribal elders. Richard Bugbee served in this inaugural role 2020-2021 and worked closely with the Climate Science Alliance team to create, initiate, and advance projects and programming that supports and promotes Tribal resilience in southern California. Specifically, Mr. Bugbee played an important role in providing guidance and direction to the Climate Science Alliance Tribal Working Group and supporting the formation and launch of the Resilient Restoration Vision group. He also provided guidance and recommendations on Tribal Resilience Projects including input on creating plant lists, discussing potential Stewardship Pathways plant propagation training, seed gathering and storage, and traditional plant uses.



Richard Bugbee is a Payoomkawichum (Juaneño/Luiseño) Indian from northern San Diego County. Richard has ties with the Kumeyaay, Mununjali Yogumbeh, and Te Ahwina. Richard grew up near the Kumeyaay village site of Kosa’aay, now known as Old Town San Diego CA. Richard is an Instructor of Kumeyaay Ethnobotany and Ethnoecology at Cuyamaca College through Kumeyaay Community College. Richard sits on the board of Indigenous Regeneration (Mata’Yuum). Richard was the Curator of the Kumeyaay Culture Exhibit at the Southern Indian Health Council, the Associate Director/Curator of the San Diego American Indian Culture Center & Museum, and the Indigenous Education Specialist for the San Diego Museum of Man. Richard is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (AICLS). Richard was a member of the Native American Council for California State Parks (1991-1995), California Indian Basketweavers Association (CIBA), the Land ConVersation, and the Elders’ Circle for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2006-2008). Richard has been learning traditional plant uses of southern California and the Kumeyaay language from Jane Dumas, a Kumeyaay Elder from Jamul Indian Village from 1980 to 2014. Richard was the ethnobotanist for the Traditional Indian Health Program through Riverside-San Bernardino Indian Health providing information on the interactions between traditional plant and pharmaceutical medicines. Richard teaches indigenous material cultures and traditional plant uses of southern California at many museums, botanical gardens, and reservations, and is an instructor for summer cultural programs for several Kumeyaay tribes. His goal is to use knowledge to serve as a bridge that connects the wisdom of the Elders with today’s youth. 


Hunwut Nganga Pe'naxanish 

'Iipaa Womii Namuul'shu'ii

Richard Bugbee
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