The Ward/Nez/Gonzalez family out of Austin, TX, is Rockie, Anita, Emerson, Tane, and Estrella. We founded Equilibrio in 2012 with the desire to root our community organizing in decolonial, spiritual knowledge. This project began years ago, however, with a longstanding activist commitment to protecting cultural territory of indigenous peoples and working against global, neoliberal, mega-project development. We are committed to building a decolonial alliance.
Tane Ward Ph.D. – Camaxtleca-Xicano, has over thirteen years experience working with Native communities to help protect their lands and preserve their sovereignty in resistance to the capitalist state. He specializes in building decolonial politics that serve to challenge the destructive exploitation of traditional communities, and create alternative frameworks for resistance in urban and elite spaces. He is a longtime educator and community organizer in Austin Texas, where he lives with his duality and their daughter.
Tane completed his Bachelors in Latin American studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. His senior thesis focused on his work with the Iku of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia and was published in the LANIC online library as Neoliberalism versus Cosmovision: An Indigenous Alternative to Modernist Development in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. He completed his Masters degree in Social Anthropology 2009 and his Social Anthropology PhD in May of 2014 from the Activist Anthropology program with a focus on Native American and Indigenous Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His Dissertation The Inauspicious Monster Inside the Sacred Fortress: Colonial Multiculturalism and Indigenous Politics in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, is currently being edited for public distribution.
Professionally, Tane is a movement organizer working in the Gulf South of the US, working at the intersection of environmental and racial justice. He is the Senior Organizing Manager for the Sierra Club, managing organizers throughout Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Tane is dedicated to anti-racist organizing principles and is a founding member of the Undoing Racism Austin Collective. He has worked extensively with community groups in Austin for over ten years. Tane aims to offer a space for organizers interested in the intersection of land based struggles with other social justice movements and spiritual practice that rejects new-ageism, Native appropriation and instead fosters connection with the spirit of the land and its inhabitants.
Rockie Gonzalez (she/her) is a Mexica, Native Xicana Texan, reproductive justice and labor justice organizer. Rockie studied Social Work at University of Texas Pan American and Austin Community college. Rockie’s background as a community organizer also includes her work as organizer of Undoing Racism Austin, lead organizer of Rise Up Texas, co-founder and Director of Austin’s first domestic worker organizing project “MISMA” and managing organizer of Austin based decolonial project, Equilibrio Norte via Equilibrio Women’s Worker Center. Rockie also founded and serves as c0-chair of the board of the Frontera Fund, a practical support abortion fund in the Rio Grande Valley. She serves her community as a Doula, community organizer, and healer. Her approach and direction are driven by an intersectional feminist lens with a strong focus on anti-racist organizing principles and a decolonial vision rooted in respect for the land and the spiritual practice of her ancestors.
Anita Gonzales-Nez (She/her) Born to Mexican Clan People, Anita is a proud mother of one and grandmother of two. Anita has had the privilege of working with children for many years as a Montessori educator and care taker. She is amazed by their natural curiosity that inspires hope and learning. Anita is currently studying organizational management at St. Edwards University and is a member of the Native American Church. Anita serves her community a spiritual guide, water woman and healer. Anita says “I pray that I can always be like a child and acknowledge that I do not know everything and always remain eager to learn more.”
Emerson Nez is Diné, Navajo born in Tuba City, Navajo reservation in Arizona. Emerson was born to Roadman Eddie Nez and mother Bessie Nez, a traditional Navajo rug maker. Emerson is skilled in many trades but his life work is to carry on prayer traditions of Native and Indigenous people through the Native American Church and the use of our sacred Peyote Medicine. Emerson serves his community as an Elder and keeper of the Native American Church traditions. He is a healer and medicine man. “I have made peace with myself and always remember what I was taught by those who came before me, I have hope to help teach those who have forgotten.”