American Indian Studies

New AIS Professor wins Emerging Scholar Award

August 7, 2018

Dr. Mariaelena Huambachano is an interdisciplinary Indigenous scholar who joins the American Indian Studies Program as an assistant professor this semester, and in October she will accept an Emerging Scholar Award at the Food Studies Conference in British Columbia. She also has been invited to give a presentation on her research at the conference. Her work centers on the intersections of Indigenous studies, public policy, and environmental and sustainable development, with a particular focus on comparative and transnational Indigenous knowledge systems of North America, Oceania, and Latin America. As an assistant professor, she will teach courses in the American Indian Studies Program and in the Sustainability Program. 

Mariaelena’s current book project entitled Indigenous Food Sovereignty and Justice is an ethnographic exploration of the politics of food security and food sovereignty of the Māori of Aotearoa/New Zealand and Andean people of Peru as seen through the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) lens. 

Through her “Right to Food Security/Sovereignty” project, Huambachano works with Indigenous farming communities, such as Wai Ariki Onerahi (Food Forest) in New Zealand and Women of Choquecancha in the highlands of Peru. She uses TEK theory and community-based research to understand the role of Indigenous knowledge systems to improve food security and climate justice policies. She has developed the “Khipu Model” an Indigenous-based research framework drawing from a Kaupapa Māori Research model and the body of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars addressing Indigenous research methods.

"The American Indian Studies Program and CSUN are excited to have a scholar of Dr. Huambachano's caliber. Her work is being recognized internationally. CSUN students will benefit from her expertise in global indigenous issues. She can discuss topics relevant to their lives in Los Angeles County and demonstrate how their lives connect with people around the world," said Dr. Scott Andrews, director for the American Indian Studies Program.

Huambachano is an advocate for the recognition of Indigenous People’s rights within international spheres. She is an active participant in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and in the International Expert Group Meeting of Sustainable Development in Territories of Indigenous Peoples held at the UN headquarters in NYC. She holds a Ph.D in International Business and Sustainable Development from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.