As a Justice Catalyst/Public Rights Project Fellow, Melodie will be working with the Yurok Tribe’s Office of the Tribal Attorney in Klamath, CA to advocate for and implement indigenous climate justice.
Melodie will work to help indigenous communities, specifically the Yurok Tribe, develop legal environmental protection to mitigate harms of climate change and to protect the Yurok Tribe’s resources. The project has been designed with the Office of the Tribal Attorney to foster collaboration both within and outside a United States legal system that has historically and systemically failed to incorporate indigenous knowledge and concerns into development projects, environmental decisions, and climate change planning. Melodie is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna and grew up in New Mexico. She graduated from University of California Los Angeles School of Law with specializations in Environmental Law and Critical Race Studies. Melodie served as Co-President of the UCLA Native American Law Student Association from 2018-2019 and clerked with Native American law firms and non-profit organizations. It is Melodie’s goal to return to her community with the knowledge and experience to develop stronger indigenous informed environmental policy. She hopes this project will allow her to develop the legal skills she needs to keep indigenous communities safe from contamination and harm and to protect the Pueblo of Laguna’s cultural resources and environment for future generations.