Department of Anthropology and the College
Teresa Montoya’s work is concerned with contemporary problems of toxic contamination and water insecurity in relation to historical legacies of land dispossession and resource extraction across the Indigenous Southwest. Her current manuscript project, “Permeable: Diné Politics of Extraction and Exposure,” draws upon ethnography and oral history to analyze ongoing environmental and legal impacts for Diné communities across the Navajo Nation following the 1979 Church Rock uranium spill and the 2015 Gold King Mine spill. Her broader research interests include tribal jurisdiction and sovereignty around environmental issues, climate justice, and water governance of the Colorado River.
Her research has been published in American Journal of Public Health, Cultural Anthropology, Anthropology Now, Journal for the Anthropology of North America, Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, and Water International. She has curatorial experience in the Peabody Essex Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, and most recently the Field Museum, where she was guest curator of the exhibition Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories.
Montoya earned a PhD in cultural anthropology and a certificate in culture and media from New York University. She held a Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative Predoctoral Fellowship at the American Philosophical Society before completing a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Chicago. She is Diné and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation.