Natalie Avalos is as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies and Affiliate Faculty in the Religious Studies and Women and Gender Studies Departments at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Avalos is an ethnographer of religion whose work in comparative Indigeneities explores urban Indian and Tibetan refugee religious life, healing historical trauma, and decolonial praxis. She received her doctorate from the University of California at Santa Barbara in Religious Studies with a special focus on Native American and Indigenous Religious Traditions and Tibetan Buddhism. She is a Ford Predoctoral Fellow, FTE Dissertation Fellow, and former CU Boulder Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow. Prior to joining CU Boulder, she taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies department at Connecticut College. She is currently working on her manuscript titled The Metaphysics of Decolonialization: Transnational Indigeneities and Religious Refusal. It argues that the reassertion of land-based logics among Native and Tibetan peoples not only de-centers settler colonial claims to legitimate knowledge but also articulates forms of sovereignty rooted in interdependent relations of power among all persons, human and other-than human. She is a Chicana of Apache descent, born and raised in the Bay Area.
Dr. Avalos’ approach to research and teaching is informed by decolonial theory as well as critical ethnic studies and critical Indigenous studies frameworks. A critical ethnic studies approach links the multiple intellectual traditions represented in ethnic studies to colonial logics such as heteronormativity, racial capitalism, and white supremacy. A critical Indigenous framework takes an endogenous approach to Indigenous life, centering Native epistemological claims, for instance that Indigenous notions of selfhood are co-extensive and bear consideration in projects for sovereignty and survival.