Antoinette "Nette" Martinez

Department of Anthropology
1999–2016

Antoinette “Nette” Martinez was an outstanding department leader, mentor to students, and partner to local Native American tribes, helping to transform the University’s relationship with the Mechoopda Maidu. Her enthusiasm for new archeological research, coupled with her own personal success story overcoming hardships as a re-entry student, inspired students and colleagues alike as the Department of Anthropology grew to new heights during her tenure.

A proud alumna of CSU, Chico, Martinez returned to campus in 1999 after her doctoral program at University of California, Berkeley. Aided by a Ford Foundation Fellowship, she continued her work at Fort Ross and other locales on the historical period when Europeans first contacted native inhabitants. Her research also led her to build bridges with Chico area tribes, and she helped facilitate Chico State’s landmark memorandum of understanding with the Mechoopda tribe in 2005, which establishes consultation and cooperation between the tribe and University. Among her many other efforts to connect with area tribes was organizing the 2011 California Indian Conference held on campus. She also was director of the Northeast Information Center (NEIC), housed at CSU, Chico, which is one of nine state centers managing historical and archeological resources. The NEIC worked with tribes in 11 counties to identify and preserve artifacts.

Martinez routinely went to great lengths to help students succeed. She integrated them into research projects, both on campus and at archeological digs; she sponsored them for fellowships, conferences and pre-doctoral programs; she sat on more than 50 graduate thesis committees—five of which won University Outstanding Thesis; and she created student internships at NEIC and within the department. Students loved her classes, and many could relate to her difficult path to success; Martinez was a single mother and school bus driver when she went back to school in hopes of earning a degree. Her commitment to students was recognized when she received the 2007 Outstanding Teacher Award.

Martinez earned her master’s and PhD in anthropology from UC Berkeley following her BA from CSU, Chico.