David Barillas Chon

Maya, Guatemala


Assistant Professor 


I was born in Guatemala in a proud Maya Poqomam town. Many experiences of reawakening to my indigeneity shapes my research focus, political, and educational commitments. I investigate Indigenous identity formations across Turtle Island and Abya Yala (North and South America), immigration, colonialism/coloniality, and race through the lens of education. My current focus is on the impact Maya from Guatemala and Indigenous peoples from Southern Mexico migrating to the United States and the rest of North America have on schooling, education, and conceptions of Indigeneity. A question informing my work is, at what particular moments in time and geographic locations do Indigenous Peoples become or cease being “Indigenous”? The questions are not only important for practitioners and others who work with an increasing Indigenous migrant population from Latin America in schools, but also for the children of Indigenous migrants, such as my son, who will have to engage in the process of Indigenous remembrance and reclamation as they learn to build healthy and sustaining relationships with other Indigenous Peoples and the lands they now live on—but are not their ancestral homelands.

 Research Interests:

  • Educational issues related to the context of Latinx/a/os, indigeneity, coloniality and immigration
  • The schooling and educational experiences of indigenous and immigrant youth from Latin America


  • PhD, University of Washington