- Henry Rodriguez
Native American Advocate/Educator
California State University, San Marcos
Henry Rodriguez's life can be characterized by his distinguished service to local, state and national Native American Indian communities and by his outstanding contributions to education. Since the 1940s, Mr. Rodriguez has been a major contributor to California Indian politics and is a national authority on Indian water rights. One of the founders of the San Luis Rey Water Authority, he served as president and is currently on the Board of Directors. He continues to work with state and federal authorities on environmental protection, repatriation and health legislation, and was instrumental in bringing healthcare to California reservations.
"Uncle Henry" Rodriguez has served as an important elder, helping to preserve indigenous California culture. He began in the 1940s to capture traditional Luiseno songs on reel-to-reel tapes, which are currently preserved by Grossmont College. He has served as chairman of the La Jolla Band of Mission Indians and was instrumental in establishing the Southern California Intertribal Council, now the California Tribal Chairmen's Association.
Mr. Rodriguez has been an active proponent of Native American Indian education. He helped to bring Head Start to a number of reservations and has served as a board member and consultant to a number of school districts, assisting to develop curriculum with more accurate representation of local Indian people. Mr. Rodriguez has been a significant activist in the establishment of Native American Indian Studies programs throughout southern California and Arizona.
Mr. Rodriguez has served as one of the most significant community consultants to California State University, San Marcos since the university's inception. He has contributed to the organization of the university's annual Pow Wow, blessed commencement ceremonies, and has participated in Native American Indian graduation ceremonies and the time capsule celebration. His lifetime dedication to advancement of education serves as an abiding inspiration for all of the students at Cal State San Marcos.
In recognition of his many contributions to the community and to his promotion of educational opportunities for all students, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, San Marcos are proud to confer upon Henry Rodriguez the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.