Luz María De la Torre Amaguana is a Kichwa (Quechua) indigenous woman from Ecuador. She joins the Spanish and Portuguese Department at UCLA in 2009. She has been appointed as a Continuing Lecturer at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Latin American Institute, UCLA.

She received her BA in Languages and Applied Linguistics from the Catholic University of Ecuador (1997). Her thesis was focused on Indigenous Bilingual Education. She earned her Master’s degree in Political Sciences at FLACSO (2006). Her research concentrated on the Indigenous Movement and its relation to the Ecuadorian government, specifically since the 1990s when the Indigenous National uprising took place. She has taught at numerous universities in Ecuador and the U.S., including Middlebury College, and Arizona State University-ASU. She worked in the Ministries of Education and Foreign Relations. She has served as a consultant for a wide range of national and international institutions and NGOs. She frequently gave lectures in Ecuador and many other countries. Her research, writing, and teaching focus on topics related to the Andean Indigenous Cosmovision, Kichwa Literature, Gender from the Andean perspective, Andean Alternative Economy and Knowledge, and New Political Relations between the Nation-State and indigenous Peoples. Currently, her latest book proposal deals with “What it means to be an Indigenous woman today.” In addition, she is developing a Manual for teaching the Quechua/Kichwa language, and a book of Ecuadorian Kichwa Poetry.


  • Co-authored with Carlos Sandoval, book entitled “Alternative Andean Economies,” 2003.
  • “A Feminine Universe in the Andean World,” Hanns Seidel Foundation, Quito, 1999.
  • Thirty books, brochures, Kichwa dictionaries and magazines for bilingual education of children and adults of Ecuador and the Andes, 1980-2008.
  •  Brief Dictionary Spanish-Quichua for Tupac Didactic Productions, Quito, 1999.
  • •From Runas to Universal Travelers: The Case of the Kichwa Nationality-Otavalo Pueblo. A Liberating Experience of Development. Article for a Handbook, Stanford University. 2022
  •  “El Ecuador retrocediendo a 1492. Los relatos de genocidio provocados por el decreto 883 de octubre de 2019”, MESTER # 49, UCLA.
  •  “Tinkuy y kuyana: dos tropos del conocer y del hacer entre kichwas de la sierra norte del Ecuador”, IDEA-USACH, 2017 •
  • “Our Sacred Maiz Mother-SaraMamalla,” in Roberto Cintly Rodriguez, Our Sacred Maiz is Our Mother, Indigeneity and Belonging in the Americas, U. of Arizona Press, 2014.
  • “Renace el conocimiento indígena en América,” EL TEQUIO # 9. Journal of the Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales-FIOB, Los Ángeles, 2011.
  • “¿Qué significa ser mujer indígena en la contemporaneidad?” MESTER # 39. Graduate students’ journal, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of California, Los Angeles-UCLA, 2010.


IL AMER 18A, Elementary Quechua/Kichwa. Indigenous Language of Americas (Fall Session).

Quechua/Kichwa language is an indigenous language from the Andes region, still spoken by around ten million people in the countries including Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, North of Chile, and Argentina.

This course will allow students to approach the Andean spoken and written language, called Quechua, Kichwa, Runa Shimi, Ingano, Yanga- Shimi (wrong name). The students in this level will have the opportunity to acquire the first notions about this language and culture that they have never been exposed to.

Starting this level will help to acquire vocabulary, grammar structures, and language features. This course is required to continue with IL AMER 18B level.

IL AMER 18B, Elementary Quechua/Kichwa. INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE OF AMERICAS. (Winter Session)

This level corresponds to the second session of learning the Kichwa language.

IL AMER 18B will focus on developing reading, written, and oral skills. Due to the agglutinative language’s characteristics, this level will continue introducing more grammar structures.

It also includes the Andean Indigenous Culture’s information and the values that have kept alive all of the indigenous historic greatness through the centuries, even though this population suffered exclusion and mistreatment for more than five centuries.

The most prominent matters will include migration, participation in the public arena, gender, economic strategies, and social institutions like the AYLLU. Moreover, the students will learn the concepts and practices of medicine and some paradigms like SUMAK KAWSAY practiced in the Andean Societies.

IL AMER 18C, Elementary Quechua/Kichwa. INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE OF AMERICAS. (Spring Session)

This level corresponds to the third session of learning the Kichwa language.

At this stage, the students will be able to speak and write about various topics, including the concept of “ayllu,” family, the most important social institution in the Andes region. Students can identify and describe family members and describe routine activities. They can talk about celebrations. Expressing actions in the different tenses: present, past, future, discussing desires, expectations in the future, conditional or subjunctive tenses. The students also can talk about kichwa spirituality.

In this step, the introduction to the crucial suffixes used in daily conversation will be the moment to discover the uses in everyday communication. Moreover, it is time to improve the ability to translate texts from English into Kichwa and vice versa. Translation of certain novels’ passages, poems, and classical stories.

IL AMER 119A, Advanced Quechua/Kichwa. Indigenous Language of Americas

This course is one of the advanced levels. The approach is communicative proficiency, oriented to develop four skill areas (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and social and cultural content. The students will be able to create comprehensive conversations among themselves. Moreover, in this step, the students also are prepared for an immersion experience. This course is oriented to move on in the skills for writing short texts, news, and reading enough Andean legends and other information in the Quechua language. IL AMER 119 A is the step where the students can communicate the most part in the Quechua language.

SPAN 170, Topics in Interdisciplinary and Transhistorical Studies. Indigenous Andean Life on Contemporary World.

This course will allow the students to learn about the indigenous peoples from the Andes, which endeavored for centuries for their recognition as social and rights subjects. We will analyze the resurgence of the indigenous peoples through their political, ecological, and cultural agendas, which have transformed the face of the Andean region.

We will analyze certain historical and chronological moments to visualize their exclusion and mistreatment and finally walking as social, justice, rights protagonists in the Andean region. We will study the periods of the Incas, colonial, and the formation of Latin-American nations, which will give us sufficient elements to analyze the current conditions of indigenous peoples.

Throughout this course, we will have the chance to analyze the strategies used by the indigenous peoples in their struggles, until achieving rights and also install the contemporary debates in the Andean countries.

Finally, we will study the role the new generations are playing in the new fields like scientific, economic, political, and development of the countries currently.

SPAN 150, Topics in Contemporary Studies: Early Stage of Indo-Andean Literature.

The course takes a panoramic journey through Andean literature. Making exploration of different historical moments, we can see the uses, meaning, and the role played by the Quechua language in this field. We will focus mainly on the “Literatura Indigenista”, a paramount movement in the Andes region, which has taken an important part in the social and political debates around injustices and inequalities indigenous people have experienced by indigenous in the “haciendas.” The specific literary production in that time shows how operated the trilogy of power: nation-governments, haciendas, and religious institutions. It gives an account of how those institutions’ structures acted to detriment of indigenous life. Those sad events also have been the point of starting to emerge new voices demanding changes in the whole region. The use of music genres, narratives, and “taki onqoy” literary movement extended into a new genre named “taki samay” as an expression of the construction of new social and political paradigms through literature.


SPAN 150, Topics in Contemporary Studies: Lost Voices of Andean Indigenous Feminisms.

This course will give the students a general account of the Andean indigenous women, taking specific examples of the Ecuadorians. We will analyze their immeasurable cultural background through their daily practices, thoughts, narratives, and many other life strategies that have allowed them to surpass the historical challenges. Today, their struggles and achievements are part of the social, cultural, political, linguistic, affective, ecological, spiritual, and healing paradigms of colonial traumas. We will analyze how their resistance to the called capitalist, and patriarchal system, the epistemological, spiritual, pedagogical, aesthetic, ecological codes have allowed them to build themselves as women, communitarian leaders, and keepers not only their peoples’ but also society general. Their effectiveness and incidences are evident in the decolonization process and have helped mitigate this modern civilization’s problems.


“De Runas a Viajeros Universales: El caso del pueblo kichwa Otavalo” at Stanford University. February 25th, 2021.

“Experiencias en la academia enseñando lenguas indígenas marginalizadas”. Universidad Autónoma Baja California-UABC, February 22nd, 2021.

“Being an Indigenous Woman in Contemporary Times”, presentation for Miracosta College via Zoom on November 22nd, 2021.

“Mujeres Indígenas de Ayer, Hoy y Siempre”, lecture given to St. Norbert College thru Zoom, November 1st, 2021.

“Ecuador seen by indigenous women’s eyes”, presentation delivered to the Loma Linda University-LLU, July 21st, 2020.

Mujeres Indígenas Kichwas: Entre el éxito y dificultades. Presentation dileverd vía zoom. Event organized for the Cabildo Kichwa from Otavalo, Ecuador. September 23, 2020.

“Afirmacion identitaria y orgullo cultural” at El Camino College, -Torrance, CA, April 29, 2019.

“Andean Indigenous from Otavalo-Ecuador. An experience of local Vendors and becoming International Entrepreneurs. “The presentation was given at the LAUSD-K12 Workshop at UCLA-Latin American Institute, on March 17, 2018.

“The Indigenous Women from now and forever” at El Camino College, May 18th, 2017, Los Angeles, CA.

“Lenguas Indígenas: Experiencias y Metas en la Academia y la Comunidad”. Latin American Institute-Spanish & Portuguese Department, UCLA, April 19th, 2016.

“Sumak Kawsay o Sumak Qamaña. Una experiencia de Bienestar y Justicia de los Pueblos Andinos”. Utah University, December 5th, 2016.

“L@s otavaleñ@s en el escenario mundial, Ohio State University, October 13-15, 2016, Columbus Ohio.

Keynote speaker at the Conference about “Indigenous Knowledge” directed to the Mixteco community for Social Justice and for organizing and Empowering the Ventura County’s Indigenous immigrants. Oxnard, April 29, 2016.

“SUMAK KAWSAY-Ecuadorian Women’s Perspectives”, March 16-19, 2015Western Kentucky University.

Indigenous women as the caretakers of the culture. INDIGENOUS WORLDVIEW, at OLLINKALLI Cultural Arts Center. Oxnard, June 14, 2014.

“Rights of Mother Earth” concepts from the indigenous cosmovision, focusing on the value of the feminine world within Andean philosophies, as well as women’s roles as keepers of time and culture. Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, San Antonio, Texas, July 10-13, 2014.

The New Voices of the RUNA from the Andean indigenous vision presented in the Fourth Annual La Crosse Area, organized by the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Collaborative Workshop on Teaching, Service, and Research. La Cross, Wisconsin, April 25th, 2014.

“Andean-indigenous alternative economic system compared with the Western economic system,” Yale University-University of the Americas Field School Program in Ecuador. (June 2010).

“Concepts of health and medicine in the Andean peoples,” for the group of students from the field studies program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Otavalo, Ecuador. (August, 2010)

Decolonizing the indigenous peoples, Frente Indigena de Organizaciones Binacionales (FIOB) – Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities (CDBIO), Los Angeles, Madera, Oceanside, and Fresno, California, 2009.