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Indigenous Mothers Demand Respect

On Mexican Mother's day, Madres de Semillas del Pueblo sent a special message to LAUSD Superintendent Deasy

By Marcos Aguilar
Published on LatinoLA: May 13, 2013


Indigenous Mothers Demand Respect


At Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory High School of North America ('AIUP') it's not uncommon to hear students say, "Quenihque tineme?" or "Manon panon." That's because Anahuacalmecac [pronounced "Ahh-na-wah-kal-meh-kak"] is unlike any other school in Los Angeles; teaching Nahuatl as a maternal language integral to a complete International Baccalaureate authorized World School curriculum in East Los Angeles.

On May 10, mothers from the family of community-based indigenous schools which includes AIUP, presented their community's demands that the LAUSD renew the charter of AIUP through 2018 to the office of Superintendent Deasy. Clear support for such an innovative and nationally recognized model of indigenous education from the Superintendent would go far to advance indigenous parents rights to choose the form and content of the schooling their children receive.

Defending basic human and indigenous rights, the mothers demanding an audience with Superintendent Deasy highlighted their rights to maternal language in education, culturally relevant curriculum, respect for the autonomy of indigenous community-based institutions like AIUP and access for their children to all levels of education. Specifically, mothers demanded that the charter be renewed through 2018, and that the LAUSD cease harassment of Semillas del Pueblo in addition to reparations for Semillas del Pueblo and respect for all indigenous families in Los Angeles. One parent in attendance stated, "The District must listen to our demands and renew the charter of Anahuacalmecac NOW!"

Built upon a unique identity as indigenous communities from across the continent grow in Los Angeles and southern California, AIUP uniquely addresses the needs of indigenous children whose ancestral origins may by in the civilizations that first cultivated corn in the world and developed the most advanced and accurate calendars in history. Yet, LAUSD and particularly Superintendent Deasy has repeatedly recommended closure for charter schools that serve indigenous students as no other school in Los Angeles does.

"The idea that indigenous maternal language and culture become the core of school pedagogy, curriculum and culture begins to plant a new future for the children of Los Angeles, a city that is in dire need of cultural and educational regeneration," says AIUP's Executive Director, Marcos Aguilar. "More than just a a charter school, we aim to be a culture center for the community; a place where indigenous families can come to learn about current issues, view contemporary examples of indigenous culture and create a whole new concept of education for our youth."

Superintendent Deasy was called upon by Madres de Semillas del Pueblo, who in community assembly agreed to make it clear that he understand that, "we are not in agreement with his opinions about our school. We as mothers have the right to choose a dignified education for our children. We choose Anahuacalmecac."

About Semillas Sociedad Civil: Semillas represents two indigenous community-based charter schools in East Los Angeles, Xinaxcalmecac Academia Semillas del Pueblo for grades kinder through eighth and Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory High School of North America for grades ninth through twelfth. Semillas students strive to become internationally-minded, culturally wise community members. For more information visit: www.dignidad.org.

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