Abstract

From the 1930s to the 1960s, Indigenous activists in Ecuador unsettled the prevailing paradigm of acculturation, practicing literacies that advanced their capacities for political mobilization around labor and land rights. Leaders on the haciendas of Cayambe allied with the Communist Party of Ecuador to organize their locally grounded politics against an urban-based indigenista movement. Both movements highlighted the need for Indigenous emancipation from the confines of the feudalistic labor system but diverged in their visions of Indigenous agency. Labor activists recognized that landowners relied on education for social control, so they made autonomous schooling a central hallmark of their struggle. Previous scholarship, focused on 1980s state directives for intercultural bilingual education, has not explored the orientation of Cayambe's early schools toward labor rights pedagogy. Analyzing textbooks, periodicals, and oral histories, I argue that Cayambe's teachers pursued notions of national inclusion that fused citizenship rights with socialist ideals and practices of Indigenous autonomy.

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