Seeds of Freedom is a remarkable case study of liberating education in the remote Guatemalan Maya indigenous village of Santa Maria Tzeja in the four decades since it was first settled in 1970. Clark Taylor's account begins at a time in which the majority of the village consisted of illiterate landless and land-poor peasant farmers working in conditions close to slavery. With the help of a Catholic priest, the village's founding pioneers were granted land, settled the village, established a school for their children, and began to prosper. By 2010 the village's emerging professionals were filling increasingly important social change roles at the local, regional, and national levels and nearly all children are educated with many to a university level. As such Santa Maria has come to exemplify the theory and practice of liberating education. The book tells the history of this remarkable community and reveals the transformative potential of the radical pedagogy of Paulo Freire and others. Santa Maria has thus become an example of dynamic liberating education, and its history has much to offer educators, students and solidarity activists throughout the world.
“Seeds of Freedom proves with insight and rigor how important the work of Freire and the project of liberating education is on a global level, especially in Latin America. Pedagogy as the practice of freedom takes on new meaning in this book and offers a historical and contextual understanding of the power of education when it is connected to social change. This is a powerful and important book and should be on everyone’s reading list.”
—Henry Giroux, McMaster University
“Seeds of Freedom is an extraordinary pedagogical tribute to a collective educational process, made possible by the unwavering commitment of a people to a liberating praxis for social change. Through on-going efforts by students, parents, and educators of the impoverished village of Santa Maria, a strong vision of liberatory education finds fertile ground to grow and evolve. Rooted in the philosophy of Mayan tradition, indigenous knowledge powerfully infuses life into this pedagogical struggle to recapture the human dignity of an oppressed community. In the midst of historical brutalities and the contradictions of everyday life, Clark Taylor weaves here an educational story of communal faith, hope, and perseverance—a story that emerges from a tiny fragile seed in the countryside of Guatemala, to become a global testimony to the indomitable power of a determined people to transform their destiny.”
—Antonia Darder, Marymount University
Acknowledgments Map of Ixcan Municipality Preface: A Profound Journey to This Book Chapter 1-Introduction: In the Turn of Just One Generation Chapter 2-Seeds of Freedom: Liberating Theory and Practice Chapter 3-Liberation from Bondage: Freedom's Foundation in an Unlikely Time Chapter 4-Liberation from Ignorance: Education for Adults and Children in the Early Santa Maria Years Chapter 5-Freedom's Children: Birth and Consciousness in a Time of Destruction Chapter 6-Schools for Liberation and Domination: Contrasting Educational Experiences in Mexico and Guatemala Chapter 7-An Educational Vision on the Way to Realization: Two Liberating Schools in One Rural Village Chapter 8-High School! Experience and Motivating Plans Chapter 9-From Village to University: Pioneers on an Unlikely Path Chapter 10-The Ongoing Harvest of Freedom Chapter 11-Conclusion: One Village's Educational Quest for Human Freedom