Anahuacalmecac has expanded upon its core function to operate as a California public charter school since its inception by design. To its founders and community, Anahuacalmecac’s mission as a school is guided by a research-based conviction that for indigenous students, public education must be methodically decolonized in order to achieve community-centered pedagogical goals. Conceptually, this begins with an epistemological design rooted in indigenous educational pedagogies, methodologies and practices. One overarching understanding supported by both research and traditional knowledge central to the Anahuacalmecac school design is the history of pre-colonial institutions of public education including but not limited to the kalmekak, telpochkalli, ixpochkalli and kuikakalli. These institutions were common to indigenous cities and cultural centers in pre-invasion central Mexico and Central American socio-cultural diasporas. A second overarching understanding which roots the Anahuacalmecac school design is the importance of the continuity of indigenous language revitalization within the context of public schooling both in-country and in the diaspora. Based upon the practice and community of Anahuacalmecac’s founding educators, the Nahuatl language has been targeted as both a language of instruction and a subject of inquiry. Central to the Uto-Aztecan language family, Nahuatl is both the most spoken indigenous language and the most written indigenous language in the hemisphere. Importantly, Nahuatl is culturally and linguistically related to the languages of the peoples indigenous to the Los Angeles basin area and many other sovereign nations throughout the southwest. A third overarching understanding is that there is an active and growing movement on the part of Indigenous Peoples, parents and youth committed to the decolonization of their lived experiences especially in the context of compulsory public schooling. Considering the growing public realization of and accountability for the heinous policies and practices of boarding schools and the reprehensible and legally sanctioned acts of genocide committed against Indigenous Peoples, particularly in the state of California, little is offered by the state apparatus to right the wrongs of the past and present in public education. Anahuacalmecac exists as an exercise of teacher agency and an act of community self-determination towards the goal of establishing autonomous liberatory practices which advance the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the local context. These three understandings establish a platform from which all of Anahuacalmecac’s praxis arises.
If not for our children, then for whom do we struggle?