“Gonzales’ historical expertise focuses on Chicano history and Southwest social and political movements,” History Colorado wrote in a statement. “She plans to incorporate youth in the exploration of Colorado’s past during her term as State Historian, and to support more inclusive practices of historical inquiry. In doing so, Gonzales is eager to raise more awareness about historical events with significant contemporary legacies, such as the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, about which History Colorado is currently collaborating with tribal partners to present a long-term exhibition.”
Gonzales' tenure begins at a time when many people in America are reckoning with the country's history of racism and violence against marginalized groups, and that fact is not lost on Gonzales. She describes the role of State Historian as "crucial" during this time.
One of her goals is to create "a more inclusive, broader history of our state."
Gonzales succeeds Dr. Duane Vandenbusche as the Colorado State Historian. Vandenbusche, a professor of history at Western Colorado University in Gunnison, was the first state historian based outside the Front Range.
Before Vandenbusche, the Colorado State Historian was Dr. William Wei, who recently spoke with Rocky Mountain PBS about the history of anti-Asian racism in Colorado.