Transborder Indigenous Education: Survivance and Border Thinking in the Professional Development and Practice of Maestros Indigenas

  • Vanessa Anthony-Stevens University of Idaho
  • Paulina Griño University of Arizona


This study examines the experiences of Indigenous Mexican educators following their participation in a transborder professional development initiative aimed at strengthening Indigenous Mexican education. Using qualitative and ethnographic methodologies, this article is guided by the following research questions: How do former participants in Transformación Docente, a U.S.-based and funded professional development program, conceptualize and enact culturally sustaining and revitalizing pedagogy in their practice? And how have their perceptions of pedagogy been impacted by their participation in Transformatión Docente? The findings challenge the hegemony of development agendas through multi-sited critique of top-down Intercultural-Bilingual Education policy and analyze on-the-ground enactments of Indigenous education. Findings reveal transborder professional development supported opportunities for Indigenous educators to: 1) legitimize Indigenous identities, 2) further Indigenous language agendas, and 3) rethink inclusion and relationality in teaching. This article highlights Indigenous teachers as strategic border negotiators, and narrators of counterhegemonic practices within institutional spaces. The study’s implications further discussions of Indigenous survivance, and demonstrate the significance of transborder Indigenous dialogues to advance Indigenous struggles for self-determination.