Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Cunningham, Phyllis M.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Popular education--Arizona--Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation; Adult education--Arizona--Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation; Yaqui Indians--Education--Arizona--Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation


The biographical introduction to this dissertation foreshadows the author’s personal indigenous experience with adult education practiced through popular education as a vocation. As the author recounts a paradigmatic shift from being a high school teacher for twelve years, to becoming an adult educator, he discovers that popular education means learning to live among and with people and becoming a partner in community development. On this journey to self-discovery and to an awakening consciousness that involves coming to terms with his Mayan identity, the author also discovers that education means knowledge of one’s culture. Thereafter, the dissertation primarily treats Pascua Yaqui Tribe cultural pedagogy and performance of culture as knowledge production while it attempts to draw parallels between this indigenous pedagogical model and popular education. Thus, early in the dissertation, popular education is reviewed in order to subsequently demonstrate how Yaqui cultural history contains core pedagogical elements comparable to popular education. Yaqui pedagogy and performance of culture are articulated to include Yaqui cosmology of the Surem and the Talking Tree; The Fiesta or Pahko ceremony; Yaqui cultural societies; the concept of the pweplum (pueblo); and the traditional council as the primary vehicle that creates and transmits cultural knowledge and identity. This dissertation also adds to the small but growing body of literature on indigenous models of education in the fields of adult education and Native American studies. Among the central premises introduced here is the ever-important theme of the school and the community as contested terrain. As Yaqui communities take on the 21st century, they are faced with the challenge of preserving their culture within a schooling atmosphere that may or may not be supportive. Yaqui pedagogy of culture and performance are therefore fomented by contemporary Yaqui models of education that are in essence very comparable to popular education approaches and methodologies. Hence, the nexus among adult education, popular education, Native American studies, and social work observed in this study as the Pascua Yaqui Tribe attempts to preserve and foment its cultural identity becomes a location and a source of grassroots and indigenous knowledge production.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [375]-389).


2 volumes, xlii, 537 pages




Northern Illinois University

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