Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Gunilla Holm

Second Advisor

Lynn Brice, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Donald Cooney, Ph.D.

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


Many indigenous people around the world have felt the consequences of neoliberal economic policy on the culture and livelihood. During the summer of 2005, the author traveled to Chiapas, Mexico to learn from four indigenous communities about their efforts at self-determination and cultural conservation, and their resistance to neoliberalism. This thesis examines how these specific indigenous communities in Chiapas have been impacted by globalized capitalism and how they are actively resisting its effects, particularly through their educational practices. The involved communities utilize three different educational systems (National Standard education, Telesecundaria education, and Indigenous Reclamation education) which embody their struggle for self-determination and resistance to neoliberalism in varying ways. In each community, education was used to enhance their struggles, but not always in a direct manner. However, incorporation of the young into resistance movement invariably took place outside of the typical formal classroom space, as well as inside in some cases. These community efforts can serve as models for one another, as well as for others who are attempting to conserve culture, language, and land.

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