Dr Cintli: Tucson’s Historic Freedom Summer & The Popol Vuh

On the way to Tucson’s Freedom Summer, I’m driving with a few friends. We speak of several topics and at one point, someone laments that over the past several years, former state school’s superintendent, Tom Horne, his successor, John Huppenthal along with TUSD superintendent, John Pedicone, had managed to bury Tucson’s highly praised and highly successful Mexican American Studies (MAS) department.

That statement froze me in my tracks. Yet, immediately, an image came to my mind.

“Yes,” I said. “…Just like in the Popol Vuh.”

The Popol Vuh is the ancient creation story of the Quiche Maya, which tells the story of the creation of the universe, maiz, and human beings.

In that ancient creation story, at a certain point, the Hero Twins outsmart the Lords of Xibalba. One of the twins, Xblanque, cuts off the head of the other twin, Hunaphu and buries it, and then Hunaphu promptly comes back to life. Impressed, several of the Lords demand that they too get their heads chopped off and buried. The twins comply, but do not bury their heads. The story is complex, but in the end, burying the heads represents the planting of maiz.

In Tucson, the story, in effect, is in reverse. The state and the TUSD governing board have buried MAS, and rather than die, it is now sprouting everywhere nationwide.

This is part of the story of Tucson’s Freedom Summer. People from across the country are gathering daily. But the more remarkable part of the story is that people are going back, or will be going back, to plant the seeds. Soon, educators will be proposing to their own local school boards to implement MAS at elementary, middle schools and high schools.

It is an awesome story unfolding before our very eyes. And in a sense, this is the second time this is being playing out. The 1st time occurred in 1969 via El Plan de Santa Barbara. At that historic gathering, the seeds were planted and soon thereafter, hundreds of Chicano/Chicana studies programs, centers and departments sprouted on college campuses and universities nationwide. Actually, unbeknownst to most people, this discipline sprouted worldwide, from Mexico to Europe and Asia.

To their chagrin, this very same process is now beginning to take place at K-12 schools nationwide. Rather than bury Raza studies, they have and are actually contributing to the reenactment of that cosmic drama.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE Dr Cintli: Tucson’s Historic Freedom Summer & The Popol Vuh.

About Kurly Tlapoyawa (1010 Articles)

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