Author Bio

Patricia Rojas-Zambrano is a doctoral candidate in the International and Multicultural Education program in the School of Education at University of San Francisco. She is Associate Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Patricia is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has spent 25 years working in community mental health and social justice issues. In addition to being a therapist, educator, and community advocate, Patricia is a mixed media artist.

Susan Roberta Katz is Professor Emerita of International and Multicultural Education at the University of San Francisco, where in 2008 she co-founded the first graduate program in Human Rights Education in the U.S. With the support of a Fulbright fellowship in 2010, she conducted research on bilingual intercultural education among the Shuar Indigenous nationality in Ecuador. Extending this work, she has partnered with the Misak community of Colombia since 2017.


The Misak people of Colombia are respected worldwide for recovering their ancestral Land, revitalizing their native language and culture, and building an education system from pre-school to university centered in traditional values and worldviews. Through this oral history with Gerardo Tunubalá Velasco, Misak educational leader and co-founder of the Misak University, we learn about his efforts alongside his community to create and sustain an autonomous educational system that guarantees the rights and dignity of Indigenous peoples in Colombia and beyond. His story, grounded in a profound love and communion with Land, speaks of the importance of Land recovery for Indigenous peoples’ sovereignty and resilience. The article opens with an introduction to Gerardo’s ongoing participation in a human rights education class and closes with a reflection by co-author Patricia Rojas-Zambrano, who writes from her positionality as a non-Indigenous Colombian living in the United States today.