Department of Native American Studies
For the last three decades, Dr. Liza Grandia has collaborated as an activist-scholar with Indigenous, environmental, social, and agrarian justice movements in the Maya lowlands of northern Guatemala and Belize. Along the way, she stopped a World Bank loan for an oil pipeline through the Maya Biosphere Reserve; founded one of Guatemala’s first environmental nonprofits called ProPeten; and accompanied Maya communities in two constitutional land cases in Belize that resulted in the historic reconstitution of indigenous territorial control in Belize. Since 2005, she has coordinated a network of social-justice advocates in the Q’eqchi’ Scholars Network and collaborated with a Q'eqchi' peasant organization called ACDIP in their “leftovers” movement of territorial defense and restoration. She joined Native American Studies at UC Davis as an Associate Professor and inherited leadership of the Indigenous Research Center of the Americas. In 2017-19 she was awarded a national Mellon Foundation “New Directions” fellowship to pursue studies in toxicology and environmental epidemiology for her new work on pesticides and other environmental hazards. At home, she has won several awards and recognition for her environmental advocacy for green schools, healthy campuses, climate action, and bilingual education as "Professor Canary" about the hazards of everyday consumer products.