• Adjunct Instructor, Education, Culture & Society

Research Summary

Research interests: Global Indigeneities; Kava; Food; Eco-Justice; Popular Culture/Music; Diaspora; Race, Gender-Sexuality and Class; Religion and Metaphysics. Theory Interests:Tāvāism; Cosmovisíon Maya; Mana/Tapu/Noa-Ngofua; Abolition; Coloniality/Decoloniality. Method Interests: Critical Indigenous Research, Ethnomusicology, Social-Cultural Anthropology, Ethnography, and Talanoa/Tzijonïk/Platica.


  • A.A., General Education, Salt Lake Community College
  • B.A., Anthropology, University of Utah
  • M.Ed, Education, Culture and Society, University of Utah
  • PhD, Anthropology, University of Auckland. Project: Rootz Vaka Transits: Traversing Seas of Urban Diasporic Indigeneity by Collapsing Time and Space with the Songs and Stories of the Kava Canoe


Daniel Hernandez’s pen name is Arcia Tecun, which is after his grandmothers. Tecun is Wīnak (Urban Diasporic Mayan) and descends from many peoples and has local ties to Rose Park in Soonkahni (Salt Lake Valley) and Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). His first teachers are his parents who are from Iximulew (Guatemala) and his life's education continues with his partner, their children, and relations with various communities across Turtle Island, Abya Yala, and Te Moana Nui a Kiwa/Wansolwara/Tåsi (Oceania, The Great Pacific Ocean). He completed his doctorate in anthropology/ethnomusicology at Waipapa Taumata Rau (University of Auckland) in Aotearoa New Zealand where he was also a tuākana mentor for young Māori and Pasifika scholars and then a professional teaching fellow from 2018-2019. He also held a lecturer appointment from the beginning of 2020 until the end of 2022, during which time he released a documentary film on contemporary and global kava communities titled 'Kava Rootz', co-edited a special issue for the IASPM journal titled 'Popular Music, Decolonization and Indigenous Studies', and released a co-edited anthology titled 'Towards a Grammar of Race in Aotearoa New Zealand'. He has published articles and chapters on several topics including education, coloniality, Indigeneity, popular music and culture, race, gender, and global Mormon studies. He is currently the cultural director for Tracy Aviary and the Nature Center at Pia Okwai (Jordan River Nature Center); an adjunct professor for the department of Education, Culture and Society; and the 2023 fall semester community practitioner in residence for the Environmental Humanities program. He is on the editorial board for the Mormon Studies Review with the University of Illinois Press, the Global Mormon Studies steering committee, and a member of the Pacific Island Scholar Award committee with the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania. Tecun is currently working on local-global Indigenous Eco and Food Justice projects that also utilise race and gender analyses, and place-based pedagogy research with diverse communities. Tecun’s public intellectual work includes storytelling on YouTube and on his podcast channel Wai?