‘Indican’ college resiliency experiences in higher education : how discrepancy narratives in the 13th grade influence academic trajectories for Indigenous/Mexican students in a border city community college

Diaz, Omar Oscar
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This investigation presents a semester long study that explores the experiences, perspectives, and approaches of 7 Indican participants, termed in this study as one whom identifies as both Indigenous and Mexican as well as in their first year of community college. In addition to situating present institutional knowledge system challenges as well as the (re)production of socio-political dynamics/relationships, and the contextualization of the applications of Indigenous/Indican resilience in surviving, navigating, and hybridizing institutional space within the transitory boundaries of community college, this study also encompasses two complementary narratives. “Why is the first year of college challenging for incoming students?” and “How are Indican students navigating and surviving their first year of community college?” The research questions guiding investigates the ways Indican students foster academic resilience; draw/apply ways of knowing and being from their border Indigenous identity; and interpret, adapt, and transform their institutional transitory space, into a hybridized form of academic success. This cross-sectional qualitative study analyzes interviews with Chucohuense1 (pseudonym) Community College (CCC) instructors, administrators, and K-12 teachers, along with participant interviews, classroom observations, journal entries, a photo elicitation component, and a Critical Participatory Action Research (CPAR) project. This investigation also focuses on the development and origins of what I refer to as self-defeating narratives that extend to not just the Indican population, but students of all ages that find themselves within a similar discourse. I focus on this particular narrative because of how relatable and powerful the unchallenged and unaddressed internalized monologue can be, in its development and its maturity. Self-defeating narratives may culminate in several ways such as if the student is not meeting the course expectations, does not participate/access campus resources, and feel alienated/neglected from peers and/or instructors for example. These first year experiences are then internalized, as a self-defeating dialogue in the form of, “maybe I was not meant for college” and are termed in this study as examples of discrepant narratives in education. For participants in this study, border Indigenous/Indican hybridization and fluency revealed the ways in which participants fostered academic resilience, drew from their ways of being and knowing, navigated their first year of community college, addressed discrepant narratives, and created/connected an Indican space in the form of a campus club. By understanding how discrepant narratives develop in the most challenging year for many incoming students, we can calibrate academic resources/programs and create an inclusive/supportive space for Indican voices.