José Antonio ("Tony") Lucero was born in El Paso, Texas and has lived, worked and studied on both sides of the Mexico-US border. He is currently an associate professor in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, where he is also Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program. Lucero’s main research and teaching interests include Indigenous politics in the Andes, Latin American politics, and the cultural politics of development. In addition to numerous articles, Lucero is the author of Struggles of Voice: The Politics of Indigenous Representation in the Andes (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008) and the co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Indigenous Peoples Politics (under contract with Oxford University Press). He is also co-director of the Global Indigenous Politics field for the Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship of the Social Science Research Council. His current research examines the cultural politics of conflicts between Indigenous peoples and the agents of extractive industry in Peru, including mining companies, oil companies, and the German filmmaker Werner Herzog.
It is an honor to be considered for a seat on the NAISA Council. Having attended NAISA meetings in Athens, Minneapolis, and Tucson, I have come to admire greatly the contributions that our organization has made to expanding the intellectual possibilities for the fields of Native American and Indigenous Studies. No other professional academic organization, to my knowledge, has done more to advance a decolonizing academic and epistemological project. In a small number of years, NAISA has provided a dynamic new space for collectively imagining the future of our field, as one that is both rooted in multiple sites of knowledge production, and routed through an ever-expanding set of local-global networks of Native Peoples and their allies. I am particularly interested in continuing the work already begun to increase the connections between the Global South and North, or "bridging Abya Yala," as we put it in the report our Ad Hoc Task Force on the Americas recently submitted to the Council.
That report, authored collectively by Emilio Escalante del Valle, Shannon Speed, Natasha Varner and myself, in consultation with over thirty members of a "NAISA Latin America Interest Group," was an effort to suggest some concrete steps to increase the participation of scholars from throughout Abya Yala, and increase attention to the challenges that Aymara, Maya, Guaraní, Quechua and many other Indigenous Peoples have encountered in their struggles with Latin American states and global capital. As someone who has worked for over a decade in the Andean region with various Indigenous political organizations, I would bring to the Council my experience in collaborating with Indigenous intellectuals, activists, and allies in transnational civil society. Additionally, I would explore opportunities with academic and philanthropic foundations to find more resources to support the participation of scholars and students in NAISA. While I am not a Native scholar, as someone who grew up in a borderlands region (home not only to citizens of Mexico, the US, and the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo but also the US military at Fort Bliss), I have long been concerned with the multiple divisions and histories of violence that have and continue to fracture and fragment our world. As a member of the NAISA council, I would work with others inside and outside our organization to build more bridges across those divides.