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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Running Epistemology: Corriendo Educando or Teaching/Learning While Running

 Learning While Running

A couple of weeks ago, the International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies published an academic article I wrote on running epistemology -- about how we learn/teach when we run. This article has now also been published in Truthout's Public Intellectual Project.

In the original article, I mention Gustavo Gutierrez, one of the co-founders of the Peace and Dignity Journey's birthed at a conference in 1990 in Quito, Ecuador. On Sept 1, while on the P & D Journeys in Northern Arizona, Gustavo passed away. A Support Trust has been established for Gustavo Gutierrez: Bank of America - 4570 2564 7444.

Here is the article in Truthout:

This article is dedicated to Gustavo Gutierrez, one of the co-founders of the Peace and Dignity Journeys, who passed away on Sept 1, 2012. The P & D Journeys are runs that take place every four years from both ends of the continent, meeting in the middle of the continent; this years run, which is dedicated to water, will meet in Tikal, Guatemala in December. The runs are part of a prophesy that unite the eagle and condor, bringing about consciousness regarding issues that affect Indigenous peoples. He died, after falling off of a horse while coordinating a portion of the run in the Grand Canyon. Prior to this, he had just coordinated the Kayenta to Keams Canyon portion of the run in Navajo and Hopi country, in which the author of this article took part in.

Indigenous ceremonial running is traced back many hundreds of years and generally forms part of larger ceremonial ways. Today, running functions as part of athletic events, although running can also function as a means to commemorate a past event (memory) and as a means to transmit ancestral or traditional knowledge. This article examines running as a means of learning and acquiring knowledge and as a method of teaching and raising consciousness. It also considers how ceremonial running has transformed the Tucson community, which has been involved in intense human rights struggles, particularly in the struggle to teach Ethnic Studies and examines the testimonios of the runners.

The Arizona desert is merciless in the summer; at 115 degrees, it can claim you at any given time. At 55 years of age, I have no clue what I'm doing running from Tucson to Phoenix in the middle of summer. I know the purpose of this 120-mile run: to defend Tucson Unified School District's Ethnic/Raza Studies program1 which is under heavy attack by the state schools superintendant and the state legislature. What I don't know is what gave me the idea that my body could withstand the extreme heat of this inhospitable Arizona/Sonora desert.

The 2009 run came about when Arizona state legislators attempted to eliminate Raza Studies via Senate Bill 1069, authored by then State Senator Jonathan Paton.2 The Bill sought to outlaw the teaching of Ethnic Studies for Arizona's K-12 (kindergarten to year 12) students. The architect of the effort to eliminate Ethnic Studies was state schools' superintendent, Tom Horne. His primary arguments were that Tucson Unified School District's (TUSD) Raza Studies department was anti-American and that it was teaching un-American values, not rooted in Western (Greco-Roman) civilisation. What he was alluding to was that Raza Studies was teaching pre-Colombian ideas and values such as In Lak' Ech (You are my other me) and Panche Be (To seek the root of the truth). These ideas constitute the philosophical foundation for the department.3 He further alleged, beginning in 2006 that the students were being taught to think of themselves as members of an oppressed group, Indigenous Mexican Americans, as opposed to being taught as individuals. This argument was based on the fact that the department stresses a social justice perspective. The Arizona Bill emerged within the context of not just other harsh anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant legislation,4 but also amid the many thousands of deaths of Mexican migrants along the United States/Mexico border.5

For the rest of the article, go to... and also, feel free to post, fb or  pass this article along:

Rodriguez can be reached at: - or 520-271-6796

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