College of Education and Human Development

Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development

Elizabeth Sumida Huaman

  • Professor; Emma Birkmaier Education Leadership Professorship

Elizabeth Sumida Huaman

Areas of interest

Indigenous knowledge systems and place-based education
Indigenous rights and earth defenders
Decolonial research design



Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Ed.M., Harvard University Graduate School of Education
B.A., Dartmouth College


Selected courses taught

OLPD 5122 Indigenous Education: Research, Policy, and Practice

OLPD 5080 (Special Topics) Qualitative research design: Applied Indigenous methods

DSSC 8111 Ways of Knowing

OLPD 8101 International development and education

OLPD 5132 Intercultural Education and Training: Theory and Application


Situated in the Mantaro Valley of Junín, Peru is an autochthonous Quechua Indigenous community that I call home. My mother and her siblings were born and raised in an adobe family house built by my grandparents, Antonieta Jesusa Carhuamaca and Antonio Huaman. Two floors of small rooms are linked by a wooden ladder that leads up to a balcony where a view of the entire valley includes one of our sacred mountain glaciers, Waytapallana—source of epistemic and ontological affirmation and renewal for the Indigenous people of this region. I am an educational researcher because of my connections to this place and my people and my dedication to using research and educational design for the caring of Indigenous lands and more than human beings with who share this earth with us. As a Wanka/Quechua woman scholar, my projects collaborate with Indigenous communities, schools, and institutions across the Americas on Indigenous visions and responses to social and educational inequalities compounded by the economic and environmental insecurities linked to globalization, climate change, and political instability. We use research to address severely endangered cultural practices, languages, and environments. The work crosses colonial demarcations/geographical borders, viewing Indigenous lands as contiguous while (re)imagining good global relationships. With community members, Indigenous educators, and youth, we consider in and out-of school Indigenous education systems, environmental justice, and Indigenous pedagogies.

 Centering Indigenous Knowledge Systems, this work explores three themes--first, the interfaces between ideas and discourses of modernity (and progress), exogenous and endogenous development, and Indigenous placessecond, Indigenous family and community land-based educational design and generative environmental pedagogies; and third, Indigenous and decolonial frameworks and practices of rights and responsibilities. I am especially interested in how Indigenous peoples negotiate and transform in and out-of-school educational development for our knowledge systems and the ways that teaching and learning explicitly address threats to Indigenous ecologies. Our projects are community-focused and make empirical contributions that are inseparable from Indigenous self-determination and self-development, the centrality of land and more than human relations, ecological adaptations, and political struggle. 

 As an educator, I work closely on decolonial epistemologies and educational design, i.e., how family and community nature-based philosopies, emplaced work, and embodied relationships serve as vital educational processes. Over several decades, I have had the honor of working with community members, schools, and tribal institutions in farms, forests, and cities in Canada, the U.S., and Peru on projects that reaffirm humanity defined by love of land and inherent Indigenous responsibilities. Trained by Pueblo Indian researchers in New Mexico and my own Wanka and Quechua community leaders and extended kin, I specialize in ethnography, case studies, narrative, grounded theory, and mixed-methods approaches while advancing Quechua research methodolgies, comparative Indigenous education research (CIER--a subfield of Indigenous Research Methodologies and Critical Indigenous Studies), and mentoring students to co-construct Indigenous protocol and language-based research methods in their own work.

 For more information on my work:


Sumida Huaman, E. (2022). Eaters of gold: Indigenous stories in an era of planetary grief and hope. Liberal Education, the quarterly magazine of the American Association of Colleges and Universities,

Sumida Huaman, E. (2022). Rikch’arisun, sayarisun, k’ancharisun: Indigenous knowledge systems and research for planetary beauty. AlterNativeAn International Journal of Indigenous Peoples. 

Sumida Huaman, E. (2022). How Indigenous scholarship changes the field: Pluriversal appreciation, decolonial aspirations, and comparative Indigenous education. Comparative Education Review.

Sumida Huaman, E. & Swentzell, P. (2021). Indigenous education and sustainable development: Rethinking environment through Indigenous knowledges and generative environmental pedagogies. Journal of American Indian Education.

Sumida Huaman, E. (2020). When humanity fails: A hopeful reminder. Journal of Indigenous Social Development.

Sumida Huaman, E. & Martin, N.D. (2020). Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies: Local solutions and global opportunities. Vancouver: Canadian Scholars' Press.

Sumida Huaman E. (2020). Small Indigenous schools: Indigenous resurgence and education in the Americas. Anthropology & Education Quarterly.

Sumida Huaman, E., Chiu, B., and Billy, C. (2019). Indigenous internationalization: Indigenous global mindedness, higher education, and Tribal Colleges and Universities, Education Policy Analysis Archives.

Sumida Huaman, E. & Mataira, P. (2019). Beyond community engagement: Centering Indigenous research agendas and peoplehood. AlterNative. 

Sumida Huaman, E. (2019). Tuki walmikuna: Quechua women, domestic labor, and life hopes in Peru, International Journal of Human Rights Education

Tom, M., Sumida Huaman, E. & McCarty, T.L. (2019). Indigenous knowledges as vital contributions to sustainability, International Review of Education.

Sumida Huaman, E. (2019). Comparative Indigenous education research (CIER): Indigenous epistemologies and comparative education methodologies, International Review of Education

Sumida Huaman, E. (2018). Yachayninchis (our knowledge): Agriculture, environment, and human rights education in the Peruvian Andes. In McKinley, E. & Smith, L.T. (Eds). Handbook of Indigenous education

Sumida Huaman, E. (2017). Indigenous rights education: Indigenous knowledge systems and transformative human rights in the Peruvian Andes, International Journal of Human Rights Education.

Sumida Huaman, E. and Brayboy, B. McK. J. (2017). Indigenous peoples and academe: Building learning spaces through innovative educational practice. In Sumida Huaman, E. & Brayboy, B. McK., J. (Eds). Indigenous innovations in higher education: Local knowledge and critical research. Rotterdam: Sense.


2023 Keynote, “‘Ya’a huk nuna kayniyu’/Ya’a huk nunam kayaa”: Indigenous worlds, personhood, and research for the freedom to become,” UMN Earth Student Research Symposium, Minneapolis, MN, USA

2022 “Conversations in Indigenous Education Across the Americas,” Keynote with Amanda Tachine, Decolonial, Postcolonial, and Anti-Colonial Studies in Education AERA SIG (formerly Postcolonial Studies in Education)

2022 "Comparative Indigenous education: Indigenous knowledge systems, research, and decolonial practices,” Presidential Highlighted Session, Comparative and International Education Society, Minneapolis, Minnesota

2021 “Rikch’arisun, sayarisun, k’ancharisun: Indigenous knowledge systems and research for planetary beauty,” Native American Heritage Month Keynote, Native American Student Center and the Office of Tribal Relations, University of Idaho

2021 “The upside-down world: Quechua knowledge systems and place-based educational research,” Roundtable on “Decolonial ecologies, endogenous development, and place-based learning,” Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, “Indigenous Conversations Across Waters, Lands, Generations, and Imaginations, Virtual

2014 “Creating Strong Partnerships with Native and Tribal Governments: The Pueblo Doctoral Cohort Project at Arizona State University,” Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), Albuquerque, New Mexico