Young Native Activist


The Islands is proud to recognize a student for her hard work and perseverance. Senior Dineh Barragan is well known for her academic commitment. Her plan is to attend a 4-year university in-state or out-of-state while majoring in environmental science. Ideally at a school that has a strong sense of community, providing a place to advocate her beliefs. Whilst hoping to either become a tribal/environmental lawyer or work in conservation.

Barragan is the Founder and President of the Social Justice Club. “ I decided to create a club to promote inclusion and equity on campus for world issues as well as recognizing heritage worldwide,” she said.

She is also involved in Community Service and Key Club Fundraising Chair/Former Sergeant At Arms. In addition, Barragan is a part of the Early Academic Outreach Program at UCSB and Upward Bound here at the Islands.

When it comes to Barragan’s heritage, she is proud of her Native ancestry coming from the San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians of Southern California. She grew up going to cultural events and programming that exposed her to customs and histories. The first protest she attended was in Placita Olvera in LA. This was seen as an opportunity for her tribal land to advocate for her ancestors’ burial rights. “I acknowledge the land I grew up on Chumash and am thankful for the teachings the elders have provided me,” says Barragan.

Barragan actively advocates for her Native community by participating in programs such as the CA Native Vote Project; “I teach the importance of voting and help fight the stigma behind registering. It is crucial to note that Natives were the last to be granted voting rights.”

When asked what got her involved with these specific clubs she responded with her sister, being she is a great inspiration for her to look up to throughout her educational journey. She’s always been passionate about leadership since grade school. Barragan’s objective is to create a difference as a youth and in the future to do the same.

Barragan furthermore explains Native Americans have the highest statistics for suicide and drug abuse. As well as having low graduation rates. Textbooks erase the truthful narratives about Natives and the mistreatment they face today.

“My goal is to bring truths to light, break barriers, and represent my community in a positive way. I know my ancestors are proud of what I have accomplished and what my future achievements will be.”

Barragan then adds a final piece of advice. Being to pursue a career you are passionate about and urges you to get involved as soon as possible if you wish to attend a prestigious university. “Look for organizations that will uplift you. Take breaks and have a support system.”