Marleen Villanueva joined Bayou City Waterkeeper as the Communications and Narrative Change Manager in Summer 2023. She is an Indigenous Mother from Pame-Chichimeca lands in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, raised in Texas.
Marleen is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Social Justice Education Department at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, and a former Elementary school teacher. By bringing together Indigenous studies, environmental education, and social justice education, her dissertation aims to add to discussions around water protection with a specific focus on the waters of Central Texas, Yana Wana. Marleen’s work is guided by and comes from the premise that water is life, water is deserving of protection, and water is important for how we live and imagine the world. She is a community organizer who has been a part of various frontline movements as a water protector and land defender. She has also worked in various roles at cultural and social justice organizations including the Center for Story-Based Strategy and the Indigenous Cultures Institute.
Marleen is informed by Indigenous water teachings and responsibilities that have been passed down through generations. She incorporates these teachings and ways of being into her communications and narrative change work at BCWK as well as in her work as a community educator and birthkeeper in her community.
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