Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation
Joseph Giovannetti, a proud Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation member and accomplished middle-distance runner, was born in Eureka, California. His athletic prowess first shone at Eureka High School; in 1967, he claimed victory as the Humboldt-Del Norte counties varsity mile champion, marking the beginning of his stellar career. In 1968, he clinched the North Coast Section Division III 880 title and set the EHS 880 school record with a time of 1:55.7.
At Humboldt State College (now California State Polytechnic University), Giovannetti’s running talent flourished under the guidance of renowned coach Jim Hunt, displaying remarkable consistency and excellence in middle-distance running. He qualified for the NCAA College Division national championships all four years of his college career. One of his most notable achievements came in 1971 when he finished eighth in the NCAA College Division 880 national championship finals. This would be recognized as a First Team All-American honor by today's standards.
Giovannetti's list of accomplishments is extensive. He set multiple records, including the Humboldt State 660 record, co-holding the HSU 880 record at 1:51.8 (equivalent to 1:51.1 in 800 meters), and contributing to HSU's 4X880 yards relay team in 1971. His excellence extended to other events as well, playing a key role in HSU's Sprint Medley Relay record in 1970 and the No. 2 all-time 4X440 relay team in 1971 against Sacramento State University.
Off the track, Giovannetti has made significant contributions to his Indigenous community and academia. He was a Professor Emeritus of Native American Studies at Humboldt State University, making invaluable contributions from 1994 to 2018. He earned his Ph.D. from Sierra University and has been an active member of the Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation Tribal Council since 2007.
Joseph Giovannetti's legacy is one of resilience, achievement, and advocacy. His journey as an athlete and scholar has left an indelible mark on the Indigenous community. As a citizen of the Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation, Giovannetti serves as an inspiration to future generations, showcasing that determination and dedication can lead to greatness both on and off the track.