Jaime Geronimo Vela


Jaime Geronimo Vela

Graduate Student

Email: jvela@ucla.edu

Personal Website

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I am a Native American of the Apache tribe. A direct descendant of Geronimo. I am also an actor and film maker as well. Three documentaries on Amazon. “Unshackled,” “The Human Effect” and “Traditional Indigenous Ways of Being.” These documentaries can also be viewed on Youtube. These documentaries follow my research on Native American populations and the Environment.

University of California: Los Angeles

  • Worked with a team as a Researcher on an IMPACT 2.0 evaluation/assessment of their program.  Conducted observations of teaching apprentices in their classroom and conducted interviews.  Performed transcription and analysis/coding of data with the team. Fall 2015.
  • Member on the NAGPRA committee at UCLA Fowler Museum for the Repatriation of Native American Remains 2014-2015

University of Central Florida

  • Team member on a research project for UCF in the collection and tabulation of Data for Sociology Program. Participated in the design and evaluation of data, along with the input of Data into a SPSS software program.
  • Office of Student Conduct Hearing Board Member at UCF (4 years) Resided on the board to hear student conduct cases and formulated recommended sanctions along with the other hearing board members. Also deciphered what would be the best solution to help the student progress and learn.

New Mexico State University

  • Part of a team to successfully complete a nomination to the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties.
  • Member of National Collegiate Honor Society of Anthropology
  • Certificate of Acknowledgement from American Indian Program NMSU
  • Co-President of Anthropology GSO (Graduate Student Organization) NMSU
  • Attended the National Trust Historic Preservation Conference Oct. 2010 and receiver of the Diversity Scholarship to attend conference.  Receiver of the Gunn Memorial Scholarship
  • Bernadillo Board of Commissioners Honorary Certificate, for successful nomination of moon artifacts to State Register of Historical Artifacts (State of New Mexico) in Albuquerque.
  • Member of Lambda Alpha National Collegiate Honors Society for Anthropology.
  • Member of:  Society of Ethnobiology and American Society for Horticulture Science and Archaeological Institute of America

Previous research projects

Worked with professor and team at New Mexico State University for the abatement of uranium contamination from the water on the Navajo Reservation. We developed a way for clean potable water. Uranium free drinking water.

Worked on focus group study with professor and team at New Mexico State University on the implementation of gardening on the Navajo Reservation for the prevention of Diabetes.


Thornton, Russell; Vela, Jaime Geronimo (2020). “NAGPRA and Repatriation of Native American Human Remains and Cultural Objects.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology. Ed. John Jackson. New York: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/obo/9780199766567-0236

Vela, J.G. (2019).  “Storytelling” Indigenous Learning Method. San Bernadina,CA. USA. Jan. 2019.

Vela, J.G. (2017). Returning Geronimo to his homeland: The application of NAGPRA and broken treaties to the case of Geronimo’s repatriationAmerican Journal of Indigenous Studies, 1, SI78-SI93.

Lombard, K.A., S.A.A. Beresford, I. Ornelas, C. Topaha, T. Becenti, D. Thomas, and J.G. Vela. 2012. Healthy Gardens/Healthy Lives: Navajo perceptions of growing food locally to prevent diabetes and cancer. Health Promotion Practice. (2013)



Traditional Indigenous Ways of Being, 2019. Amazon | YouTube

The Human Effect, 2016. Amazon YouTube

Unshackled, 2015. Amazon YouTube

Awards & Grants

Kneller Award in Education and Anthropology – UCLA Fall 2015

Cota-Robles Fellowship – UCLA – Dept. of Education – Fall 2014

Conference Presentations

Guest Speaker – Chaffey College. Southern California. “Storytelling and Diabetes Prevention Among the Navajo”. (February, 2021).

Guest Speaker- Notre Dame High School, Sherman Oaks, CA.  Presented to students the Native American perspective of USA history.  (To enlighten the youth of Native American history in the USA). (Fall, 2018 & Fall, 2019).

Cultural Properties Review Committee Historical Register (State of New Mexico)[Presentation]. “Moon Artifacts Nomination.”

Research, Pedagogy, and Other Institutional Practices Conference [Presentation]. “Participatory Action Research: Cultural Sources of Strength Embedded in the Persistence of Native American College Students.”

New Mexico Higher Education Assessment and Retention Conference [Presentation]. “The Ontology of Diversity: Pedagogy for Native American Ethics and Philosophy.”

New Mexico State Legislative Indian Affairs Committee [Presentation].  “The Uranium Abatement of contaminated well water on the Navajo Reservation to Provide Potable Water.”

New Mexico State Legislative Water and Natural Resource Committee [Presentation].  “The Uranium Abatement of contaminated well water on the Navajo Reservation to Provide Potable Water.”

New Mexico State Legislative Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee [Presentation].  “The Removal of Uranium from contaminated well water on the Navajo Reservation to Provide Potable Water.”


MA Anthropology, New Mexico State University. Focus on Cultural, Archeology, and Cultural Resource Management.

Graduate Certificate in Native American Studies, New Mexico State University

BA Anthropology, University of Central Florida

BFA Theater, University of Central Florida

BA Psychology, University of Central Florida

BS Criminal Justice with certificate of Criminal Profiling, University of Central Florida