Going Home for the First Time: Indigenous Migrant Youth and Experiences of Binationality

How do Indigenous Triqui youth make meaning of their lives, their families, their experiences at school, the discrimination they face, as well as how they want to be portrayed, perceived, and treated?

Indigenous Mexican immigrant youth make up an important, growing, and vulnerable population in the United States. Yet we know very little about the experiences, needs, and contributions of this population because they have long been subsumed under the presumed homogeneous category of “Hispanic” youth. This visual ethnographic research project explores the ways in which Indigenous Oaxacan Triqui youth develop their identities through connections with relatives and cultural practices during their first trips to their ancestral hometown in Oaxaca, Mexico. Conducted with Triqui high school students who are also farmworkers, youth participants conducted a majority of the filming and interviewing and were involved in each step of editing the resultant ethnographic film. The visual ethnography sheds light on the discrimination and inequity affecting these youth and their binational families, also articulating how Indigenous migrant youth and their families are working to protect and strengthen their language, identity, education, and well-being. In addition, the project could help institutions and broader society understand how these youth and their families can be supported to strengthen their well-being, identity, language, and education. This grant supports post-production costs for the film, including compensating an Indigenous Oaxacan filmmaker consultant, the video editor, and the student facilitating efforts to disseminate the film.

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