In the Summer of 2017, I traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico for the Cultures, Land and Politics in Oaxaca study abroad program offered by the University of Arizona. During the 8-week long program, we studied different geographical and political regions of Oaxaca, while developing research questions for our individual research projects. The last two-weeks of the program I traveled to the town of Yaviche, in the North Sierra of Oaxaca. The focus of my research was alternative forms of education from a decolonial framework, using the case study of CEU- XHIDZA (Center for University Studies Xhidza) in Yaviche. CEU-XHIDZA is an autonomous indigenous-based education institution established in 2017. CEU-XHIDZA offers two degrees; Community Sciences and Comunalidad . CEU-XHIDZA is altering the way we think of higher education through a model based on community learning, exchange of knowledge and experiences, awareness of the environment, and focus on holistic solutions for complex social problems.
During my research project, I interviewed the coordinators of CEU-XHIDZA, Oswaldo Martínez Flores and Melquiades Cruz Miguel, along with several students from the first cohort of CEU-XHIDZA. The interviews were compiled into a short documentary, featured above. Insights from my time in Yaviche were published in Spanish for the study program and participants to engage with. I plan to revisit Yaviche in the near future and continue documenting the incredible story of decolonial education at CEU-XHIDZA.