Brooke Larson is Professor Emerita of History at Stony Brook University; author of
Whose Indian School?: Revenge of the Oligarchy
Chapter 4 chronicles Warisata's crisis of legitimacy and destruction under Bolivia's new Conservative military regime between 1939 and 1944. It reconsiders the paradox of Warisata's fate—the Bolivian state's assault on the ayllu-school at the peak of its international fame around 1940. Why and how was the ayllu-school transformed from a mecca of progressive indigenistas and model of Indigenal Education into a target of state violence and public slander? Peeling back layers of state propaganda and reactionary racism, the chapter argues that the siege of Warisata reveals the reaction of Bolivia's neocolonial oligarchy before the perceived threats of Indigenous education and empowerment. The state's effort to persecute radical teachers, who then mobilized their own resources to resist Warisata's official takeover, was largely covered up by contemporary state authorities, eager to contain the Indian schools within the centralized state bureaucracy and reassert the oligarchy's policy of racial (“mestizo”) assimilation.