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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ref/lecciones: lessons for my hijo and other children of Indigenous immigrants

  • Author(s): Barillas Chón, David W
  • et al.

This essay is an autohistoria, an autohistory (Anzaldúa, 1999), in which I share my experiencesand understandings of being Maya and an immigrant in the United States and the discriminationthat other indigenous people like me experience from Latin Americans and Latinxs One purposeof autohistorias is to speak from lived experience and create theories that help us understandourselves and those like us. I write this essay to my son and the many other children in theUnited States who are born to Indigenous immigrant parents. One purpose for sharing myhistorias is to heal from intergenerational trauma caused by colonialism (Brave Heart, 2000). Itis my responsibility to share such stories in order to provide lessons and roadmaps for my son,other children of Indigenous immigrants, and future generations (Brayboy, 2005; Vizenor, 2008).I structure this paper to reflect the spiral (Grande, San Pedro, & Windchief, 2015) ways ofsharing, learning, and storytelling that are often absent in linear accounts of history andstorytelling (Deloria, 2004; Smith, 1999). There are many stories that I share and interweavewith one another in this paper. I hope that my son and other children of Indigenous immigrantslearn from them, as I too am learning by sharing them.

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