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Tami Okamoto

PhD candidate

Tami explores the production of autonomous indigenous territories in the Peruvian Amazon



  • PhD, University of Cambridge, expected 2023
    • Visting scholar, University of Oslo, SUM, 2022
  • MSc, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, 2011
  • BSc with Honours, University of British Columbia, 2009


  • National Geographic Early Career Grant 2019/23
  • Edwin Leong Travel Award, Hughes Hall College 2022
  • 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 postcolonial territory and critical geographies of indigeneity. I engage collaborative geographical methods and postcolonial and decolonial approaches to development and state level planning. I am interested in the potential of autonomous indigenous territory-making in opening spaces for 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 over 10 years. My current work builds upon this ongoing engagement.

My PhD research explores the production of autonomous indigenous territories in relation with dominant Eurocentric geographical representations, notions and uses. In collaboration with the Wampis Nation -the first autonomous territorial indigenous government in Peru- I interrogate prevailing colonial notions of territory in the Peruvian Amazon 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. (2023) Levels of Arsenic, Cadmium, and Mercury in Urine of Indigenous People Living Close to Oil Extraction Areas in the Peruvian Amazon. Environmental Health Perspectives, doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106639
  • 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 seminar and conference presentations

  • Geographies of modern Amazonia. Remaking territory among the Wampis Nation. Research Seminars in Human Geography, University of Oslo (September 2022)
  • Boundary making and indigenous geographies in Amazonia. Royal Geographical Society International Annual Conference (August 2022)
  • The postcolonial territory in Amazonia. Some reflections on the Anthropocene. MPhil Anthropocene Studies student-led seminar, University of Cambridge (June 2022)
  • 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)

Policy reports

Other publications


  • University of Cambridge, Department of Geography
    • Lecturer & Supervisor, Part II (final year). Geographies of Postcolonialism and Decoloniality (MT 2022)
    • Seminar Leader, MPhil Anthropocene Studies (MT 2022)
    • Supervisor, Part II (final year). Political Ecology of the Global South (2022)
    • Supervisor, Part IB Paper. Development Theories, Policies and Practices (ET 2022)
    • Supervisor, Part IA Paper. Society, Environment and Sustainable Development (ET 2022)
  • University of Oslo, Department of Sociology and Human Geography
    • Lecturer, Master’s in Human Geography. HGO4501 Development (2022)
  • 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, Department 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
  • Peer-review activity: Espiral Revista de Geografías y Ciencias Sociales (UNMSM)