Eric Garza’s Bio

Eric Garza

Welcome to my website!

A little about myself: I was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, in the United States. I spent much of my childhood wandering the forests and fields near my suburban home, sometimes with friends but often alone. Some of my fondest memories involved fishing in the various ponds and lakes within walking distance of my house, searching for garter snakes near the vernal wetlands that had yet escaped development, and tossing grasshoppers into the webs of the large garden spiders common in that region. These places carried powerful medicine for me, and I silently grieved as I watched the water bodies succumb to eutrophication and the forests and fields get bulldozed, one at a time, in the name of progress.

These childhood memories inspired me, over the course of my life, to ask deep questions about how the human enterprise engages with the landscapes it inhabits and the many living beings we share those landscapes with. I studied ecology and evolution while an undergraduate at Purdue University, then environmental science and public affairs as a graduate student at Indiana University. I moved east in 2007 to study ecological economics at the University of Vermont, finishing my formal schooling in 2011. My education continues though, inspired by a desire to understand the social and environmental drivers of colonialism and conquest, the causes and consequences of disconnection, the broader implications of ancestral trauma and how to heal it, and what it means to connect to a place after generations of cultural atrophy.

My mother’s ancestors were primarily Irish and Scottish, most of whom immigrated to North America in the 1800s in the years after the Irish Potato Famine. They were, effectively, ecological refugees, fleeing their homeland when the agricultural productivity of that land betrayed them. Some came straight to the United States and eventually settled in the Midwest, while others lingered in Canada for a time before migrating south through Michigan. My father’s side of the family is a mix of Spanish and Native. They immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 1947, when my father was a very young child. My grandfather was of primarily Basque ethnicity, and his parents or perhaps grandparents fled Spanish tyranny for a better life in Mexico in the late 1800s or very early 1900s. My grandmother, like many darker-skinned Latinas, was a mix of Spanish and Native. My uncle, who was 12 when she died, tells me her facial features were reminiscent of the Aztecs, but of course the Aztecs were empire builders who forcibly subsumed dozens of smaller indigenous groups before Spanish conquest ended their reign.

These days I live in Vermont’s Champlain valley, land occupied by the Abenaki people before waves of European colonists forced most of them north into Canada more than 100 years ago. I teach at the University of Vermont on a part-time basis, occasionally teach at other colleges and universities, and offer classes and workshops outside of university settings. I produce the Healing Culture Podcast, film videos for my YouTube Channel, and publish essays on Medium. The best way to stay abreast of my doings is by signing up for my monthly newsletter below, which I send out on or very near each new moon. You can also connect with me on various social media platforms using the icons at the bottom of this page.