Tristan Reader

About Tristan Reader

Tristan Reader is Associate Professor of Practice in the Department of American Indian Studies. His work focuses on:

     Indigenous food sovereignty;

     Native American wellness and public health;

     Native American economic hybridity & social entrepreneurship;

     Cultural revitalization theory and practice;

     Indigenous and Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodologies;

     Global food movements and food sovereignty;

     Sustainable and culturally-based community development;

     Community empowerment and quantum leadership; and

     Indigenous ontologies, epistemologies, and axiologies.


Prior to joining the UA faculty, Tristan was Co-Founder and Co-Director (with Terrol Dew Johnson) of Tohono O’odham Community Action (TOCA) for two decades. There, he partnered with hundreds of community members to develop a broad set of food sovereignty programs aimed at promoting public health, cultural revitalization, community empowerment, and sustainable economic development. This work was the foundation of his PhD dissertation, ‘Thereby We Shall Live’: Tohono O’odham Food Sovereignty and the Confluence of Quantum Leadership, Cultural Vitality, Public Health, and Economic Hybridity (Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University – UK).


Tristan is a joint-recipient of the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World Award. He helped found Native Foodways magazine, and serves on the Leadership Council of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA). Tristan has written more than 20 articles and book chapters on Native American food sovereignty.

Areas of Study


Tristan Reader's picture

Contact Information

Tristan Reader
Associate Professor of Practice
Office: Harvill 235C
Office Hours: By Appointment


PhD -- Center for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University (UK)

M.Div. -- Harvard University

B.A. -- Swarthmore College

Dissertation Title

"Thereby We Shall Live": Tohono O'odham Food Sovereignty and the Confluence of Quantum Leadership, Cultural Revitalization, Public Health, and Economic Hybridity

Courses Taught

  • AIS160A1 -- Many Nations of Native America 
  • AIS548 -- Indigenous Methodologies 
  • AIS504 -- Fundamentals of American Indian Studies
  • AIS200 -- Introduction to American Indian Studies
  • AIS220 -- COntemporary American Indian Issues
  • AIS225 -- Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Mainstream and Indigenous
  • Indigenous Food Sovereignty
  • ENTR485 -- Innovating: Creating the Future 

Catalog Courses by Faculty

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences