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Internship Led to Alumna’s Career in Tribal Government

Corrina Beckwith Garbani ’92 has made the long journey from urban studies to Indian Country.

Garbani, who was recently re-elected to the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians Tribal Council, has served Indian Country – a widely used catch-all phrase for Native American lands and affairs – for 15 years as a director with United American Indian Involvement, Inc., an urban Indian health program in Los Angeles. She oversaw the administration and operations of the Los Angeles American Indian Health Project and the Robert Sundance Workforce Development Program. Garbani was elected in 2006 to the Pechanga Gaming Commission, the regulatory agency charged with protecting the integrity and assets of the tribe's gaming operations, and to the tribal council in 2009.

Her early career in administration got a boost during her LMU undergraduate days with an internship with the L.A. City/County Native American Indian Commission. Garbani, who earned her degree in urban studies, credits LMU with giving her direction. “Professor Fernando Guerra had a huge impact on me,” she said. “He made political science and urban studies exciting.” After she graduated, her internship with the commission became a job. In a few years, Garbani became a commissioner, where she served until 2004.

“I take a lot of pride in having a piece of protecting who we are,” Garbani said of her Indian Country work. “And it’s very important for my two daughters, to have their culture for the future.”

Garbani also earned a master’s degree in public administration at Cal State University, Los Angeles.

Posted Aug. 16, 2010