Mensajes de los abuelitos: Reclaiming Zapotec ways of knowing and community- based biliteracy practices in Oaxaca, México

Steve Daniel Przymus, Felipe Ruiz Jiménez, Virgilia Pérez García


A challenge facing Zapotec teachers in intercultural bilingual schools in Oaxaca, México is a persistent colonial system of national curriculum that places greater value on Western, monolingual, epistemological knowing-about knowledge over community-based, ontological, Indigenous knowing. The biliteracy teaching methods, shared here by two native Zapotec teachers at two Zapotec bilingual schools, honor community-basedxkialnana, local ontologies that work to develop student biliteracy/identity development and challenge normalized/official/colonial knowledge acceptance at schools. Amid questions of language planning and policy, translanguaging is both leveraged and critiqued in an effort to achieve decolonial teaching and to keep mensajes de los abuelitos alive.

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