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Student Honored as Emerging Leader

UCR Student Honored as Emerging Leader

William Madrigal Jr. is recognized for efforts to preserve the culture of California Indians.

(September 30, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – William Madrigal Jr., a UC Riverside junior from the Cahuilla Indian Reservation near Anza, Calif., has received a statewide award for his dedication and service in documenting American Indian cultural knowledge and teaching it to others.

The Santa Rosa-based California Indian Museum & Cultural Center gave Madrigal its inaugural statewide Emerging Leader award for dedicating himself to teaching children about California Indians in history as well as educating them about cultural diversity, preservation, and awareness.

Executive Director Nicole Myers-Lim said the award honors individuals who have demonstrated a powerful commitment to protecting, preserving and enhancing the cultural integrity of California Indian tribes. The award was presented in Anaheim in July.

Madrigal grew up on the Cahuilla reservation, speaks his Cahuilla language, and is a bird singer. He is majoring in anthropology and plans to become a teacher and pursue a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology. He also plans to work to protect cultural resources, enhance tribal sovereignty and offer educational resources to others.

Madrigal is active with American Indian students throughout Southern California. He performs on the UCR campus and at schools throughout the Riverside region, and is part of a team of UCR researchers that is documenting Southern California Indian songs. Madrigal also helps monitor archaeological sites in Anza Borrego State Park and was hired by the Native American Land Conservancy to be a tribal liaison for protecting cultural landscapes.

The California Indian Museum & Cultural Center teaches about Indian cultures and history from an Indian perspective and encourages the cultures’ renaissance and renewed vitality. The Museum and Cultural Center was developed by the nonprofit National Indian Justice Center.
William Madrigal Jr., far right, sings Cahuilla bird songs with the Madrigal Family Singers. Photo by Carlos Puma, courtesy of Dorothy Ramon Learning Center.Enlarge

William Madrigal Jr., far right, sings Cahuilla bird songs with the Madrigal Family Singers. Photo by Carlos Puma, courtesy of Dorothy Ramon Learning Center.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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