Council on Anthropology and Education
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
This paper examines the ways Indigenous Mexican educators navigate paradoxical community and institutional discourses around Indigenous language and cultural reclamation as negotiated forms of survivance (Vizenor, 2008) in political and ideological borderlands of Indigenous schooling. Using collaborative ethnographic and decolonizing methodologies, we focus on the experiences of elementary education teachers in Mexico’s public system of Indigenous education from the states of Oaxaca and Puebla. Within the language policy framework of Intercultural-Bilingual Education, we approach the interactions of school-community relationships as dynamic borderlands, impacted by settler-colonialism and deep Indigenous histories and place-based knowledge (Munoz, 2019), where different languages and epistemologies frame on-going interactions of resistance and subjugation, persistence and erasure, between Indigenous peoples and government schools. As such, we were interested to understand how Indigenous teachers navigate the opportunity space of Intercultural and Bilingual education policy, within the constraints of coloniality and standardization. this sought to understand: How do Indigenous teachers navigate the ideological and implementational spaces of language education? How do Indigenous teachers navigate their perceived relationships and responsibilities to Indigenous language reclamation inside and outside of the classroom? To understand these navigations, this paper draws upon ecology of language (Hornberger, 1996), border theory (Mignolo, 2012) and Indigenous survivance (Vizenor, 2008) to highlight how educators navigate and open-up ideological and implementational space for language and culture reclamation in schools and communities. Findings critique of top-down Intercultural-Bilingual Education policy and analysis of on-the-ground enactments of Indigenous teachers as they wade through entrenched ideologies of schooling and identity.