Dr. Patrisia C. Gonzales

Assistant Professor, Mexican American Studies
Tuscon, Arizona
United States

Focus Areas

Higher Education
Racial Equity & Healing
Indigenous Communities
Latino / Hispanic Communities


As the daughter of Kickapoo, Commanche and Macehual peoples who migrated across present-day United States and Mexico, Dr. Patrisia Gonzales specializes in Indigenous ways of knowing and Indigenous medicine. She descends from three generations of traditional healers and teaches courses about Indigenous medicine. She obtained her Ph.D. in Mass Communications from the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is an assistant professor in the Department of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona and faculty in the Native American Research and Training Center in the College of Medicine. As a Kellogg National Leadership Foundation fellow (Group 16), she explored community healing and Indigenous medicine and helped to establish a promotora project on traditional medicine in New Mexico. She is a promotora of Mexican Indigenous Medicine and an herbalist. She apprentices with Macehual elders as a Traditional Birth Attendant. As a “promotora-investigadora” or community health promoter-researcher, her courses and research combine applied Indigenous medicinal knowledge with explorations into under-girding philosophies and world views. She has collaborated with the Indigenous Birthworkers Network and Tewa Women United. She is an advisor to the Indigenous Institute of the Americas, a member of the Native American Indigenous Studies Association and the Native American Journalists Association, and a former board member of the American Indian Resource Center in San Antonio, Texas. She has received various grants to conduct collaborative research with Indigenous knowledge keepers on Indigenous medicine. For many years, she was a nationally syndicated columnist and has authored several books. Her most recent book, Red Medicine Traditional Indigenous Rites of Birthing and Healing, is part of the First Peoples Series: New Directions in Indigenous Studies through the University of Arizona Press. She was awarded a 2014 fellowship by the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy to work on Kickapoo education policy.