Tirso Gonzales

Assistant Professor, Indigenous Studies

Tirso Gonzales, Ph.D., completed his doctorate in rural sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His work as a scholar, international consultant and activist has allowed him to work closely with Indigenous Peoples in the Americas. He is an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Canada. His current work explores the use of indigenous and non-indigenous research methodologies and techniques on issues central to self-determined indigenous development.  His scholarly work includes indigenous strategic vision, indigenous biodiversity conservation, ecosystem management, food security, and climate change. He was lead author and chapter contributor for the Latin American and Caribbean, LAC, Sub-Global Report on the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). He has published several articles and chapters on indigenous agriculture and knowledge. His recent scholarly publications include the book chapters “From Colonial Encounter to Decolonizing Encounters. Culture and Nature seen from the Andean Cosmovision of Ever: the Nurturance of Life as Whole” ( Earthscan 2010) and “Positioning Indigenous Peoples on the Sustainability of Local Indigenous Agri-cultures and Agrobiodiversity  in Times of Climate Change and Climate Change Crisis.” (Theytus 2010). He is committed to supporting the agenda of Indigenous Peoples as well as processes related to indigenous ecological knowledge, cultural affirmation and decolonization. His current research focuses on Dialogue of Latin American Andean Agri-cultures, and Climate Change; Centers for Mutual Learning, Indigenous Intellectuals and decolonizing Latin American indigenous studies.


  • M.S. University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, Madison

Research Interests

  • Latin American Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous Development in the Americas (North, Central and South) and Cosmos-visions; Rural Sociology; Participatory Research and Methodologies
  • Indigeneity, Place, Reindigenization; Indigenous Autonomy and Selfdetermination; Indigenous Social Movements
  • Indigeneity, Ecological Justice and Resource Rights, Conservation and Management of Natural Resources; Indigenous In Situ Conservation of Native Crops; Biological and Cultural Diversity; Environmentally and socially sustainable development in Latin America and the Americas; International Agriculture
  • Political Ecology and Political Economy of the Americas

Selection of Publications

  • “Sense of Place and Indigenous Peoples’ Conservation.” In Virginia Nazarea (ed.) Seeds of Resistance/Seeds of Hope: Cultural Biological Interface in the Repatriation and In Situ on Conservation of Traditional Crops. (Forthcoming)
  • “Kawsay (Buen Vivir) y Afirmación Cultural: PRATEC-NACA, un paradigma alternativo para los Andes.”(Kawsay (Good Living) and Cultural Affirmation: PRATEC NACA, an alternative paradigma for the Andes) In “Más allá de la racionalidad instrumental: hacia el reencuentro con la reproducción de la vida y el respeto a la naturaleza. Hacia El “Buen Vivir” y la descolonialidad.” (Coordinator) Boris Marañón. (Forthcoming

  • Sierra, C., Bernal, H.,Onaindia O., M. and Gonzales, T. (Editors). 2011. 328 pages. CambioClimatico, Bosques y Amazonia. (Climate Change, Forests and Amazonia)Coordinated by Amassunu, Asociacion Amassunu para la interculturalidad yla Biomimesis, Bizkaia, Spain. (Book)


  • Member: Doctoral Programme in Natural Sciences for Development, DOCINADE, Technological Institute of Costa Rica. (Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias Naturales para el Desarrollo (DOCINADE), Tecnologico de Costa Rica).
  •  Member: Canadian Association for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 2012 – present
  • Member: Latin American Studies Association, 1991 – present
  • Vice-President: Canadian Association for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, May 2012 – present
  • Member: British Columbia Food Systems Network Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, March 2007 - 2012.
  • Member Advisory Panel: Terra Lingua. Terra Lingua’s Indigenous Advisory Panel, Canada, March 2007 – 2012.
  • Board of Directors: The Cultural Conservancy. San Francisco, California, Jan. 2007- July 2012
  • Member (Since 1996) Indigenous Research Center of the Americas, IRCA, Native American Studies, UC-Davis.

Current Courses

UBC Okanagan Calendar Course Descriptions are available at available online.

  • Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change Indigenous Knowledge
  • Cultural and Biological Diversity in the Americas
  • Issues on Cultural Affirmation and Decolonization, Autonomy and Self-determination

Last reviewed shim5/10/2013 5:33:12 PM


Phone: 250-807-9422
Fax: 250-807-8001
E-mail: tirso.gonzales@ubc.ca

University of British Columbia Okanagan
Community, Culture and Global Studies
3333 University Way
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7

Tirso Gonzales