Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education


Department of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Joyce Harth

Second Advisor

Dr. Janet L. Deck

Third Advisor

Dr. Bob Houlihan


Persistent poverty coupled with inequality and marginalization continues to broaden the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous populations of Oaxaca, Mexico. Particularly in the field of education, Oaxaca exhibits an insufficient and inadequate pedagogical system. Federal, State, and NGOs educational interventions have been unreliable at best, demonstrating minimal outcomes predominantly in the degree and percentage of engagement that the indigenous of Oaxaca demonstrate at creating and implementing educational alternatives suitable to their local and state needs. The development of an ethnic pedagogical system—with all its propositions of community engagement for the purpose of progress—is critical to poverty exits as demonstrated by current research. This multi-site case study is an exploration of indigenous teachers and mothers’ perceptions and values concerning education in three communities of the state of Oaxaca. Data was collected using socio-demographic questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and participant observations. The findings suggest that that the degree and rate of engagement of indigenous in the creation of educational alternatives is affected by their perceptions and values concerning education. Participants believed that, for the significance of their survival as nations living within a nation, the fight to recover their cultural identity is a greater priority than academic and universal knowledge, that cultural and traditional principles and ethics should be the directive of education, and lastly the use and teaching of technology should be under the framework of values and behaviors of each individual ethnic group. An additional and vital finding emerging from this study is the notion that while the essential characteristics of education have been used to disempower societies these cultures in turn have disempowered education through rendering it inoperative. These dynamics generate yet another drawback to indigenous peoples: education as the path to indigenous personal and social development and progress at best enjoys a good status while at worst continues to remain neglected along with all its transformative qualities.