Committee ChairMcCarty, Teresa L.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis ethnographic study examines the unique schooling experiences of Yaqui students in an urban public school setting in Tucson, Arizona. The dissertation focuses on life narratives as a means of understanding how contemporary Yaqui adults view formal education, the struggles they endured to maintain their cultural identity within a mainstream educational environment, and Yaqui-defined factors contributing to the diminished and differential school success experienced by present-day Yaqui youth. The study enlisted 10 Yaqui individuals who resided in Old Pascua at the time of their elementary and secondary schooling, and who represented a range of ages and schooling levels. Old Pascua was chosen because it was established as the first Yaqui community in Tucson and because of Yaqui student attendance in specific schools. Critical theory provides the study's theoretical framework. Such a framework illuminates both the institutional practices and policies which contribute to the limited success of minority students, and the means of transforming those limiting conditions. Yaqui oral narrative accounts serve as the primary documentation and critique of existing educational institutions. The individual and collective struggles revealed in these first-hand accounts, as well as the social, political, and historical factors impacting the lives of Yaqui individuals, are examined. This documentation and a thematic analysis of the accounts suggest several institutionally produced factors that contributed to Yaqui students' lack of school success: the hidden curriculum of school; family support for education; and perceptions related to success. These themes are explored relative to the lives of Yaqui individuals, to research literature, and to critical theory. Finally, participant-generated recommendations for institutional change are discussed. These include changes in school and community relations, relevance of schooling, and economic factors. This study provides insights into the uniqueness of Yaqui school experiences and extends the current body of literature on American Indian/Alaska Native education by considering schooling from a neglected perspective--one informed by Yaqui individuals themselves. By examining the complex array of factors contributing to Yaqui students' diminished school success, the study also joins microethnography, macroethnography, and critical theory in a unified, systemic approach.
Degree ProgramLanguage, Reading & Culture