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Advisory Committee


Patrisia Gonzales (Executive Director)

Patrisia (Kickapoo, Comanche and Macehual) descends from three generations of traditional healers and teaches about Indigenous medicine and Indigenous knowledge at the University of Arizona. She is a traditional birth attendant and herbalist and is author of several books, including Red Medicine: Traditional Indigenous Rites of Birthing and Healing. She is former national columnist and has won several awards for her writings, including human rights awards. She has worked on Indigenous language policy and planning. As a 2018-2020 Faculty Fellow in the Agnese Nelms Program in Environment and Social Justice, she is engaging the next generation of Indigenous advocates with elders and Native rights activists associated with the Alianza.

David Garcia Jaimez

David is a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and currently employed by the Pascua Yaqui Head Start on the Pascua Yaqui reservation.  David is one of the founders of the Yoeme Commission on Human Rights and has been active in the Yaqui community for over 20 years in promoting social justice and human rights issues on the reservation. He has been a member of the Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras for the past 10 years.

Dennis Manuel

Dennis is a member of the Tohono O'Odham Nation and activist in promoting environmental production of Baboquivari Sacred Mountain on the Tohono O'Odham Reservation.  He is retired and has been an activist for the past 30 years. Dennis has been part of the Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras for the past 15 years.

Ernest Moristo

Ernest is an elder and member of the Tohono O'Odhman Nation. For more than 30 years, he has promoted environmental protection Baboquivari Sacred Mountain on the Tohono O'Odham reservation, which has been under threat due to expanded militarization of the border.

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Jesus "Chucho" Ruiz Vai Sevoi – Eudeve (Opata) Tlamanalcah
Son of Leonor and Juventino, partner of Maria Molina Vai Sevoi and father of six children. Over the past 20 years, Chucho has transformed the lives of countless youth through a La Cultura Cura approach through grassroots organizing and youth engagement and later as an employee of Chicanos Por La Causa. Additionally, Chucho has served as a central facilitator of la tradición through his affirmation and maintenance of Nahua cultural practices and way of life, commitment to social justice, and obligation to the Tucson community, Chucho has served as a central facilitator of la tradición Nahua within the Calpolli Teoxicalli, a constellation of Nahua familias in Tlamanalco. Chucho has always answered the call to meet the needs in of the Chicana/o community as cultural advisor, authentic community leader, and “barrio intellectual”. Chucho has worked to create indigenous solidarity by building intertribal relationships with indigenous communities across Turtle Island. 

Juan Jaimez

Juan is a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and has been involved in community issues and advocated for human rights for more than 13 years. He has been a member of the Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras for the past 10 years.

Margo Tamez, PhD

Shi ndé isdzán shimaa kónitsąąíí hada’didla’łepaiyé shitaa cuelcahen shash ndé.  I am an enrolled citizen of the Lipan Apache Band of Texas. My clans are the Big Water, Lightning Windmaker, Tall Grass and Bear. I was born in Austin, Texas in the traditional and unceded territory of the southern Ndé Nation.  I currently work in British Columbia, Canada, as a professor in the Indigenous Studies Program, at the University of British Columbia, Kelowna, Canada.  I reside on the Okanagan Indian Band #1 Reserve, near Vernon, BC.

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Mona Polacca

Mona Polacca is a Havasupai/Hopi/Tewa elder and Chair of the International Council of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. Grandmother Mona is representative of the Indigenous World Forum on Water and Peace, a coalition of Indigenous leaders and organizations that was envisioned by the elders to protect the water. It has the support of 60 organizations globally at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.


Octaviana V. Trujillo, PhD

Octaviana V. Trujillo (Yaqui), Ph.D., is founding chair and professor in the department of Applied Indigenous Studies at Northern Arizona University and teaches courses on Tribal Nation Building. Professor Trujillo’s studies have been augmented through such activities as a Fulbright Fellowship in India, attending the Instituto Cultural de Guanajuato in Mexico, participating in study sessions of the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, and the Salzburg Institute in Austria, as well as serving as a delegate to the international “Beijing UN Forum on Women.” She has traveled extensively internationally related to her own research interests, as a Kellogg Foundation Leadership Fellow, and in conjunction with international community development and human rights delegations in Mexico, Israel, Ecuador, Northern Ireland, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Colombia.

A primary focus of her work now has been developing programs that provide the use of her academic and human rights advocacy training to Indigenous communities regionally and globally. Professor Trujillo’s international experience includes the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, EPA Governmental Advisory Committee, which helps to shape U.S. policies intended to improve environmental and health conditions of the United States, Canada, and Mexico and Global Diversity Foundation which promotes agricultural, biological and cultural diversity around the world through research, training and social action. She was appointed by President Obama to serve as a member to the Joint Public Advisory Committee for the governing Council of the trilateral North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation.

Roberto Rodriguez

Roberto (Dr. Cintli) is an associate professor at the Mexican American & Raza Studies Department at the University of Arizona. He is a longtime-award-winning journalist/columnist who received his Ph.D. in Mass Communications in 2008) at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. His current field of study is the examination of maiz culture, migration, and the role of stories and oral traditions among Indigenous peoples, including Mexican and Central American peoples. He has a forthcoming book (Fall, 2014 University of Arizona Press): Nin Toanantzin Non Centeotl: Our Sacred Maíz is Our Mother. He teaches classes on the history of maiz, Mexican/Chicano Culture and politics and the history of red-brown journalism. In 2013, a major digitized collection was inaugurated by the University Arizona Libraries, based on a class he created: The History of Red-Brown Journalism. He currently writes for Truthout’s Public Intellectual Project and is currently working on a project, titled: Smiling Brown: Gente de Bronce – People the Color of the Earth. It is a collaborative project on the topic of color consciousness. He is also writing a memoir on the topic of torture and political violence: Yolqui: A warrior summonsed from the spirit world.

Tupac Enrique Acosta

Long-time activist and community organizer as well as traditional practitioner, Tupac serves as Yaoatachcauh of the  grassroots community based organization TONATIERRA in Phoenix, AZ.  This responsibility, a designation of the Indigenous Mexican (Nahuatl) communities is a reference to traditional custodial and community organizing duties in the various realms of community development work from local to regional, continental to global.

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