Erika Yamada is a program officer in the foundation’s Brazil office. She has more than 15 years’ experience in international human rights law and public policy, and has worked for the Brazilian federal body for indigenous affairs (FUNAI) focused on land rights, community education, and strengthening indigenous peoples’ organizations. Before joining Ford, Erika worked as a consultant with and for indigenous peoples and organizations on issues related to human rights, climate change, and free, prior, and informed consent. Earlier in her career, she served as National Rapporteur for Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples, an initiative of a coalition of NGOs in Brazil (Plataforma Dhesca) to monitor the situation of human rights for indigenous peoples in the country.
The combination of local and global experiences has grounded Erika’s work over the past years. In her life and career, she has learned that the voices and stories of indigenous peoples, quilombola, and traditional communities are key to informing truly transformative debates and actions for social justice. Currently, she serves on a volunteer basis as an expert at the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, allowing her the opportunity to learn with indigenous peoples and governments around the world.
Erika holds a doctorate in indigenous law and policy from the University of Arizona, a master’s degree in international human rights and humanitarian law from Lund University, and a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of São Paulo in Brazil.