Ariella Gaughan

Graduate Student

American Indian Studies

Pronouns: she/her

Ariella Gaughan, Chickasaw Nation, hails from a small town in Northern CA. There, she obtained a paralegal certificate and worked at local law firms, whilst studying for her undergraduate degree. After transferring to UCLA in 2021, Ariella became involved in a multitude of environmental and indigenous projects, often intertwined. By the time she graduated from UCLA in 2023, she had earned a B.A. in Political Science, was a URSP UCLA Grand Challenge: Sustainability Research Scholar 2022-2023 and served as the Director of Sustainability for various USAC offices in 2023-2024.

Her continued research maintains a primary focus on the Los Angeles natural environment and its indigenous history. Her advocacy for CA natives is presented through her research of indigenous plants, people, lands, and most importantly, perspectives. She believes advocating for the environment requires empowering the Tribal communities within and beyond the colonial borders of America. She is attending UCLA once again to obtain her Master’s degree in American Indian Studies, and hopes to continue her focus on Tribal sovereignty. She is involved in the California Native American Truth & Healing Commission and is a part of the education, youth, and urban subcommittees. She has done advocacy work for tribes in various capacities including a variety of ecological and cultural terrains in CA, MT, SC, OK, & HI.  

Topics of interest for research include: wildlife conservation, tribal sovereignty, environmental justice, and sustainability policies.