Making Relatives: The Poetics and Politics of a Trans-Indigenous Teacher Collective

Meixi, Sukanda Kongkaew, Panthiwa Theechumpa, Amornrat Pinwanna, Alison Ling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We write this article as educators working at Sahasatsuksa school, an urban Indigenous school in Thailand, who also maintain ties with related Redes de Tutoría work in Mexico. This article engages the stories of our trans-Indigenous teacher collective to illustrate how poetic ways of making relatives across time advanced our intellectual, ethical, and political work. We ground our reaches for Indigenous futures in the Mekong through a lens of relative-ness—specifically how making relatives toward enacting more poetic forms of teaching and learning held political possibilities to disrupt colonial logics implicit in global schooling for Indigenous children. While the extension of schooling worldwide is deemed important for development, rhetorics of modernity have largely suppressed the rich familybased knowledges that Indigenous children bring into classrooms, contributing to the debilitation of human communities’ intellectual and socioecological health. Our interest here is then: How can educational movements travel in regenerative ways for Indigenous peoples and their lands instead? With a focus on tracing the relational commitments of our transIndigenous design research, we illustrate how ongoing acts of making relatives occurred across two timescales—both within our educational design and within moment-to-moment interactions among teachers and students. First, we illustrate how making relatives occurred within 3 years of growing the collaboration across grassroots educators in Mexico, where the Tutoría pedagogical movement in which we were working originated. Second, we present a microanalysis of a teacher-student dialogue to show how poetic forms of relating within everyday interactions expanded political possibilities of schools living in right relationships with families at Sahasatsuksa. Finally, we suggest that making relatives, a deeply trans-Indigenous practice, is an alternative frame to “comparison” and can open up possibilities for more generative, decolonial forms of edgework across comparative education and the learning sciences, teaching, learning, and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-464
Number of pages23
JournalComparative Education Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2022

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