Martin Rizzo-Martinez

User Martin Rizzo-Martinez

User Lecturer

Humanities Division
Social Sciences Division




Humanities Building 1

Humanities & Social Sciences Bldg, rm 150 (Grad Lab)

History Department

Ph.D., History, UC Santa Cruz, with Designated Emphases in American Studies & in Latin American and Latino Studies, 2016.

M.A., History, UC Santa Cruz, 2010.

B.A., American Studies, UC Santa Cruz, 2004.

B.A., Philosophy, UC Irvine, 1999.

My work focuses on Indigenous histories, politics, and stories from 19th Century California. My research and writings emphasize Indigenous politics of survival and perseverance by centering stories on Indigenous peoples rather than colonial institutions, such as the missions. 

Native American History; Spanish Borderlands; Indigenous Studies; Colonialism and Nationalism; American History; California History; Representation(s) of Native American People and Cultures; Critical Race & Ethnic Studies; Latin American and Latino Studies; Indigenous Studies; American Studies. 

Instructor of Record (UCSC):

  • History 104D: Museums & the Representation of Native American History
  • History 139E: Santa Cruz History, 1770 – present
  • History 10B: US History 1877 – 1977
  • History 9: Introduction to Native American History
  • Kresge 26: Navigating the Research University
  • Stevenson 26: Navigating the Research University
  • Oakes 80A: Communicating Diversity
  • Rachel Carson College 1: Academic Literacy & Ethos—Environment & Society


  • UC Critical Mission Studies Community Initiated Partnership Grant for book project w/ Valentin Lopez (Amah Mutsun Tribal Chair), 2020


  • UC Critical Mission Studies Community Initiated Partnership Grant for documentary project - "Walk for the Ancestors", 2020


  • UC Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, UC Riverside, 2018-2020


  • UCSC IHR Summer Dissertation Fellowship - Summer 2015


  • Pacific Rim Advanced Graduate Fellowship - 2013-14


  • UC Mexus Dissertation Research Grant - 2013-15


  • Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship - 2008-10, & 2012-13


  • UC Center for New Racial Studies Dissertation Fellowship - 2012-13


  • Roundtable Participant, “Transforming the Teaching of the California Missions: Essential Collaborations to Teach from an Indigenous Perspective,” in Teaching History Conference: Challenges in Teaching and Learning History: Issues of Pedagogy & Content at UC Davis, May 7, 2021, on panel with Daisy Martin, Judith Scott, Valentin Lopez (Amah Mutsun Tribal Band), Alexii Sigona, and Renya Ramirez.


  • “Women and Power in Early Native North America,” Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, Virtual Conference on American History, April 15-18, 2021.


  • “We are not Animals: Indigenous History of Santa Cruz,” Amah Mutsun Speaker Series: Critical Mission Studies Research: Telling the Truth, Santa Cruz, California, November 7, 2020.


  • Presenter, "Captain Coleto and the Yokuts: Social and political stratification within California mission communities,” Western History Association 60th Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 17th, 2020.


  • Chair & Presenter, “Fausta & Serafina: Indigenous Women in Positions of Power within the California Missions,” Western History Association 59th Annual Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 19, 2019.


  • “Portola’s Encounters with the Guachirron and Quiroste: the Real Story of Indigenous Generosity & Spanish Duplicity,” Amah Mutsun Speaker Series: Nothing to Celebrate: Reconsidering the Legacy of Portola, Santa Cruz, California, October 16, 2019.


  • Presenter, “Life in the Mission of Padre Killers,” UC Riverside President’s & Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow Symposium, Riverside, California, May 1, 2019.


  • Presenter, “Reading Silences: Reflections of Settler Colonialism in the Indigenous accounts of Lorenzo Asisara,” Western History Association 57th Annual Conference, San Diego, California, November 2, 2017.


  • Presenter, “The Assassination of Padre Quintana & Legacy of Colonial Violence,” Ethnohistory Annual Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 6, 2015.


“We are Not Animals”: Indigenous Politics of Survival, Rebellion, and Reconstitution in 19th Century California. Lincoln, NE: The University of Nebraska Press (forthcoming, Fall 2021)


"'If They Do Not Fulfill What They Have Promised, I Will Accuse Them’: Locating Indigenous Women and Their Influence in the California Missions.” Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 53, No. 3 (Autumn 2020): 291—313.


“Indigenous Homes & Social Stratification,” in Revisiting the Lost Adobe Excavations, 1981-1985: Archaeology, Ethnohistory, and Indigenous History at CA-SCR-217H-T, La Misión de la Exaltación de la Santa Cruz (Mission Santa Cruz), ed. Tsim Schneider. (forthcoming)


“The Many Lives of Justiniano Roxas: The Centenarian Fantasy in American History and Memory.” Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS), Vol. 5, No. 1 (Spring 2018): 168—204. Co-written with Boyd Cothran.


"No Somos Animales": Indigenous Survival & Persistence in 19th Century Santa Cruz, California -- Dissertation, 2016.


Indigenous Justice or Padre Killers?: Lino, Fausta, & the Assassination of Padre Quintana -- in Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History Journal #9, 2016


"He came from an Indian Kingdom": The Lorenzana Family, Race, & Rights in a Changing Society -- in Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History Journal #9, 2016


"Dios no manda eso": Indigenous Community and Leadership in the Assassination of Padre Quintana in Santa Cruz, 1812 -- Chapter in Evangelization and Cultural Conflict in Colonial Mexico, ed. Robert Jackson (Cambridge Scholar Publishing, 2014)


"The Americanos came like hungry wolves": Ethnogenesis and Land Loss in the Formation of Santa Cruz -- MA Thesis, 2010