About me

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog.  My name is Angela Gonzales. I am a member of the Hopi Tribe from the village of Shungopavi. My mother is Erlene Onsae and I'm from the Spider Clan. If you're not familiar with the Hopi Reservation, Shungopavi is one of 12 Hopi villages situated on or below three adjoining mesas in northeastern Arizona. The reservation encompasses approximately 1.6 million acres and is home to nearly 8,000 community dwelling tribal members. 

Map of the Hopi Reservation
Although I am an enrolled tribal member, my background and cultural experience are not typical of most Hopis. I grew up in southern California, traveling back to the reservation for ceremonies and summers with my grandparents. After earning a BA in sociology from the University of California, Riverside, I moved to the east coast to attend Harvard University where I earned a MA in Education and a MA and Ph.D. in Sociology. Although I wasn’t raised on the reservation and I don’t speak the language, I believe in the traditional Hopi values of kyavtsi (respect), sumi'nangwa (volunteerism), hita'nangwa (responsibility), and nami'nangwa (reciprocity) and have used them to guide me in my personal and professional life.

I am currently an Associate Professor of Development Sociology and American Indian Studies at Cornell University. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses, I conduct research focused on understanding and addressing disparities in the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer and cancer-related health conditions among American Indians. My interest in health-related research began in 2006 when I was a post-doctoral fellow in the Native Investigator Development Program at the Native Elder Research Center at the University of Colorado Denver. Under the auspices of the program I had the opportunity to collaborate with the Hopi tribe on a study examining colorectal cancer knowledge, attitudes, and screening practices. Working with my tribe was a deeply rewarding experience and I was excited to have the opportunity to partner with them again on my current project, Enhancing Cervical Cancer Prevention Strategies among Hopi Women and Adolescents. The project is funded by the National Cancer Institute as part of a P50 center grant to the University of Washington's Center for Clinical and Epidemiological Research.   

In addition to my health-related research, I am also engaged in research examining the racialization of American Indians based on biological and genetic inheritance (blood quantum and DNA). As a result of this research, I was invited to serve on the curatorial team for the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) exhibition, IndiVisible: African-Native Lives in the Americas. The exhibition, a collaboration between the NMAI, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services, examines the dynamics of race, community, and culture, and the often hidden, but common histories and lived realities of people who share African American and Native American heritage. The exhibit opened at the NMAI in November 2009 and continues to travel to venues throughout the US, Canada, and Latin America.

Despite having lived my life away from the sacred Hopi homelands, my commitment to community has remained strong. I am a former director of the Hopi Tribe’s Grants and Scholarships and Adult Vocational Training Programs. I was a founding board member of the Hopi Education Endowment Fund (HEEF), a charitable, non-profit program of the Hopi Tribe established to support Hopi educational programs. In 2011, I was re-elected to the board and currently serve on the executive and program committees. Recently I was selected as a participant in the Hopi Leadership Program, a 15-month capacity-building program designed to cultivate a cadre of strong, effective, and culturally-grounded Hopi professionals to run organizations and perform grassroots community work using models based on the Hopi culture and western education. I'm excited to be a part of the program and look forward to learning how I can use my education, training, and experience to make a positive contribution to the community.  
Although my personal and professional journey have taken me far from the windswept mesas of the Hopi Reservation, I am grateful for the opportunities I have been provided. In thinking about my personal credo -- make sure that when it is all said and done, more was done than said -- I decided to use the occasion of my upcoming birthday to raise money for the Hopi Cancer Assistance Fund. I hope that this ride will inspire Hopis and other Native people of the many ways we can give back to our communities even if we aren't able to go back.  
Angela Gonzales

If you want to learn more about my research and teaching activities, please visit my department webpage.  

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