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Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Monday, January 16, 2012

TUCSON Students speak out on forbidden Mexican American Studies

Occupied America
was seized from the classrooms by Tucson school officials
when Mexican American Studies was forbidden.

Click arrows to listen to students

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

TUCSON -- High school students from the now-forbidden Mexican American Studies classes in Tucson spoke out during Martin Luther King Day here, protesting the school board and state of Arizona.
Describing the seizure of books from his classrooms, one student said it was an attempt to "take away our power."
"Knowledge is power," he said, describing how education and knowledge form beliefs and, "who we are."
Another student describes how ethnic groups other than Latinos at Tucson schools can still discuss their cultures, while Mexican American culture discussions are now forbidden. Further, she says teachers are now "under a microscope" and issues like feminism, oppression and Martin Luther King are forbidden topics.
Tucson schools seized Chicano and Native American books from classrooms after the board voted Tuesday to forbid Mexican American Studies, rather than fight the decision by the state school head, who threatened to extract millions in education dollars unless the classes were banned.
Watch the Censored News videos of students speak out today during Martin Luther King Day in Tucson.

Ethnic Studies students march on Martin Luther King Day in Tucson

Listen to more students at:

Mexican American Studies students marched and rallied in honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day in Tucson today, protesting the decision by Tucson Unified School District board to forbid their classes. Students said it was like being in Nazi Germany when school officials came into their classrooms and seized all their books, banning Chicano and Native American literature. Photo and video by Brenda Norrell Censored News.

Simon Ortiz: Shocked over Native books banned in Arizona

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Simon Ortiz, world acclaimed poet, author and professor, responded to the banning of books by Chicano and Native American authors. Tucson schools seized the books from students in their classrooms after the board voted to forbid Mexican American Studies on Tuesday. Tucson schools board voted to succumb to the state of Arizona's threat to extract millions of dollars if the classes continued.
Simon Ortiz:
"I am very stunned and very shocked and very pissed off the Tucson Unified School District would ban Mexican American Studies and books like Rethinking Columbus: The Next Five Hundred Years that includes works by Indigenous (Native) authors Leslie Marmon Silko, N. Scott Momaday, Winona LaDuke, Buffy St. Marie, Joy Harjo, Wendy Rose, Joseph Bruchac, Jimmie Durham, Peter Blue Cloud, Luther Standing Bear, Gail Trembly, Jose Barreiro, Phillip Martin, Suzanne Shown Harjo. The banning explicitly and pointedly shows it is not only Mexican American Studies and people and so-called illegal immigrants that are targeted but Indigenous studies and people as a whole"
Simon J. Ortiz, Regents Professor, ASU Department of English; American Indian Studies

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