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Tami Okamoto

Tami Okamoto

PhD candidate

Tami explores alternative concepts and uses of territory in collaboration with Amazonian indigenous peoples in Peru.



  • PhD, University of Cambridge, expected 2023
  • MSc, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, 2011
  • BSc with Honours, University of British Columbia, 2009


  • National Geographic Early Career Grant 2019/22
  • RGS-IBG Historical Geography Research Group Postgraduate Funding 2022
  • AAG Graduate Student Affinity Group Research and Support Award 2022
  • Society of Latin American Studies Research Support Award 2020/21
  • Department of Geography, University of Cambridge 2019/20
  • Society of Latin American Studies Postgraduate Travel Grant 2019/20
  • Centre for Latin American Studies Simon Bolivar Fund, University of Cambridge 2019/20
  • AAG Latin American Specialty Group Field Study Award 2019/20
  • A.J. Pressland Fund 2019/20
  • Worts Traveling Scholars Fund 2019/20
  • Norwegian Latin American Research Network Student Scholarship 2010/11
  • Fritt Ord Foundation's Student Grant 2011/12
  • Joseph and Joyce Gardner Scholarship 2009/10
  • University of British Columbia President's Entrance Scholarship 2006/7
  • Oscar Soderman Memorial Scholarship 2005/6


My research interests centre on territory and indigenous geographies, decolonial approaches to posthumanist geography, development, and state level planning, and collaborative geographical methods. I am interested in the potential of indigenous territories in opening spaces for alternative knowledge production and spatial epistemologies around territory and territorial governance in postcolonial contexts, particularly in the Amazon region.

I have been collaborating with Amazonian indigenous peoples for the past 10 years. My current work builds upon this ongoing engagement.

My PhD research explores territory, contrasting Eurocentric historical geographical representations of indigenous ancestral territories and indigenous notions and uses. In collaboration with the Wampis indigenous nation in the Peruvian Amazon, I interrogate prevailing colonial notions of territory and their influence on historically naturalised cartographies and statecraft, and current territorial governance schemes.



  • O'Callaghan-Gordo, C., Rosales, J., Lizárraga, P., Barclay, F., Okamoto, T., Papoulias, D., Espinosa, A., Orta-Martínez, M., Kogevinas, M., Astete, J. (2021) Blood lead levels in indigenous peoples living close to oil extraction areas in the Peruvian Amazon. Environmental International, doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106639
  • O'Callaghan-Gordo, C., Flores, J.A., Lizárraga, P., Okamoto, T., Papoulias, D., Barclay, F., Orta-Martínez, M., Kogevinas, M., Astete, J. (2018) Oil spills in the Amazon basin and exposure to metals in indigenous populations. Journal of Environmental Research, v. 162, p.226-230. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.01.013.


Book chapters

Selected conference presentations

  • Coloniality and autonomy in contemporary geographical approaches to Amazonian indigenous territories. American Association of Geographers' Annual Meeting (February 2022)
  • Demarcation and zoning of autonomous Indigenous territories in the Peruvian Amazon. With E. Tuesta. The International Congress of Geography of the South of Peru (August 2021)
  • Decolonising Territory: Recentring indigenous geographies in Amazonia. Latin America and the Caribbean PhD Research Day. Centre for Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge (May 2019)



  • University of Cambridge, Department of Geography
    • Supervisor, Part IB Paper. Development Theories, Policies and Practices
    • Supervisor, Part IA Paper. Society, Environment and Sustainable Development
  • University of California, Santa Cruz, Department of Environmental Studies
    • Guest Lecturer, Amazonian Cultures and Conservation: Rebuilding relations from the ground up (2017-2020)
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Departament of Social Sciences
    • Lecturer & course co-design, Amazonia and Society: Indigenous Politics and Territories (2016)
  • University of Oslo, Centre for Development and the Environment
    • Seminar Leader, Development and the Environment: Theory and Policy Challenges (2012)
  • Oslo and Akershus University College
    • Guest Lecturer, Climate Change Journalism (2012)


  • National Geographic Explorer
  • Postgraduate Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society
  • Member of Decolonial Research Lab. Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • Member of American Association of Geographers
  • Member of Latin American Geographies UK Research Network
  • Evaluation committee member of Espiral Journal of Geographies and Social Sciences