Gonzales earned a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Texas in Austin in 1981. She also attended the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Gonzales has been a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Tucson Citizen, and the Corpus Christi Caller. She was a fellow at the Center for International Journalism at the University of Southern California in 1990. Gonzales has also taught journalism at the University of New Mexico. In 1992 she married fellow journalist Roberto Rodriguez. Since 1994 Gonzales and Rodriguez, have written a syndicated column, Column of the Americas, for the Universal Press Syndicate. A collection of their columns, Gonzales & Rodriguez: Uncut and Uncensored, was published in 1997. The following year the couple served as lecturers at the University of California in San Diego. Also in 1998, the human rights office of Albuquerque, N.M., gave Gonzales and Rodriguez its annual human rights award.
Gonzales, who is of mixed Mexican-American, Kickapoo, and Comanche Indian heritage, has made ethnicity and healing the central themes in her work. She has long been interested in Native American cultures. In 1998, she and Rodriguez discovered a series of maps indicating the ancient Aztec homeland in what is apparently present-day Utah. Gonzalez has examined the physical, spiritual, and community aspects of traditional healing in South Africa, Northern Ireland, and Hawaii as a Kellogg National Leadership Program Fellow. Her book on social movements in Mexico, The Mud People: Anonymous Heroes of Mexico's Emerging Human Rights Movement, was published 2002. Gonzales is a founding member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and belongs to the Native American Journalists Association. She also conducts writing circles using journal writing and natural medicine to promote self-healing.