CICLOS DE LA TIERRA CURRICULUM
CULTIVATING QUERENCIA THROUGH MUTUALISMO, RESOLANA, AND SELF-GOVERNANCE
CONCEPTS BY NEW MEXICO LAND-BASED PEOPLE
FRAMEWORK BY ALICIA CHAVEZ
ILLUSTRATIONS BY ADELINA CRUZ
The feedback collected from teachers revealed a need for curriculums that not only responded to the New Mexico Public Education Department’s outcome of the Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico ruling, but a curriculum that would provide opportunities to strengthen the connection between youth and culture, land, and water that is necessary for life to be sustained.
We are delighted to present to you the Ciclos de la Tierra: Cultivating Querencia through Mutualismo Resolana and Self Governance. This curriculum represents an ongoing collaborative effort among community members, local organizations, and schools. This work originates from a collaboration of educators and organizers who felt that there was a need to create a school garden curriculum that was immersed in the local history and traditions of the Central Rio Grande Valley, in what is known now as the Valle de Atrisco, which is sitting on Tiwa land.
These lessons can also serve as a tool to encourage youth to engage in the ways that their families are/have been connected to land and water throughout the world. In exploring New Mexican tradition, we would do its rich history a disservice by erasing the very palpable consequences of colonization, which is the erosion of local histories and ways of life particular to the Nuevo Mexicano experience. We position ourselves in the lived experience and visceral understanding that the concepts of reciprocity are a foundational cornerstone of Indigeneity, not just in what is now called New Mexico, but on a global scale.
We pay homage to the deep African foundations of the word acequia, which originated with the Moors, along with the original irrigation systems of North Africa. We acknowledge how the Asian and Arabic influences of the Spanish Language are used throughout this curriculum. Learning how to grow your own food creates autonomy in the community and a means of living for persons of varying abilities.
These lessons are all aligned with Common Core (CCSS) ELA standards, Next Generations Science Standards (NGSS), and NM State Social Studies Standards in addition to the principles of restorative social justice. The curriculum uses the abundance of standards as a holistic guide to the thinking and overlap of standards that occurs when using traditional gardening as the primary teaching tool.
We organized the curriculum around Ciclos, the Spanish word for seasons. Agriculture is connected to the concept of seasons and is tied to science, culture, tradition, and history. This cultural knowledge honors our elders, families, communities, and our indigenous stewardship of the land. This knowledge is infused throughout the lessons and activities. We have chosen to center the New Mexican cultural identity, which includes Indigenous and Chicano influences, through the knowledge we present in this curriculum, welcoming and extending an open invitation to weave in the uniquely vibrant cultures and identities that each student, each parent, and each teacher who opens this book will offer to the tapestry that is this learning journey. Although New Mexican culture serves as the framework for this curriculum, there is space to incorporate various other cultures, languages, traditions, and histories from various places around the world. These lessons can be taught at any time of the year. It is suggested that they are taught in order.
We use the four concepts of Resolana, Querencia, Mutualismo, and Self Governance that originated in traditional New Mexican communities, especially those of acequia societies, cofradias, and hermandades. These groups served as a response to support each other by sharing resources equitably throughout the community during rough times. These concepts can be seen in other cultural traditions throughout the world but perhaps known by different names. The concept definitions can be taught and shared orally.
However, a deeper understanding of these concepts can only be taught through the experiential embodiment of learning. Each lesson activity is categorized by the concept that the student will experience. It is the main goal of this curriculum to connect students, teachers, administrators, and parents as active participants in the honoring and acknowledgment of the cycles of the earth and what they have to teach us to coexist with plants, animals, and ourselves in a way that is sustainable for all to live.
We appreciate the support that our community has provided to create this curriculum. We extend our deep appreciation to our previous Executive Director Dr. Virginia Necochea and CESOSS Board President, Alicia Chavez, who envisioned and brought everyone together to have this educational resource available for our community to define and maintain its connection to land and water through water and land systems in our local communities.
Thank you and we hope you will enjoy this curriculum and that you would become part of the Ciclos de la Tierra Teacher Network.
CESOSS Executive Director
The Ciclos de la Tierra Curriculum was generously supported by the New Mexico Public Education Department through the Department of Language and Culture and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District.