Read the expanded article here.
Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine
In 1883, my grandfather, Saste, was a child of seven years. With his parents, he traveled in a group into the Black Hills in South Dakota for a sacred prayer journey to Washun Niye, a site from which Mother Earth breathes. They were following a path that had been a journey for his people for thousands of years. In preparation for the ceremony, the women dried the hide of a pte, or tatanka (buffalo), which was carried to this site for the sacred ceremony.
The 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage sets out a framework “to ensure that effective and active measures are taken for the protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage.” Increasingly, however, the World Heritage site program, made famous through sites like Pompeii and the Great Wall of China, has come to ignore the sovereignty and rights of the Indigenous Peoples who inhabit and share the areas it was created to protect.
The idea of language loss is so foreign to ethnocentric America that in order to help my students make sense of it, I often turn history on its head: Imagine a hypothetical age of World War Z. You are living in a small English-speaking community in the Czech Republic when calamity strikes, cutting you off from the rest of the world. Believing that this will now be your home for the next 20 to 30 years, would you encourage your family and community to abandon English for the local dominant language?
When I first began making Heenetiineyoo3eihiiho’ (Language Healers), a film on the subject of Native language loss and revitalization, some of the people I know said things like, “When languages disappear, that’s natural; it’s survival of the fittest,” and “If kids don’t want to speak their languages, they won’t and so the languages disappear; it’s that simple,” or even, “What do Native Americans want? To separate off from the rest of America?” As I thought about these statements, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a deeper issue operating beneath their responses.
Read the Hawaiian version here.
It was the morning of 7 Ajpu according to the Maya calendar, a date that represents strength, confidence, and bravery. Fifty-three Indigenous youth representing three countries and at least seven distinct Indigenous communities gathered in the shadow of volcanoes on a secluded patio overlooking Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan to participate in a traditional Maya ceremony. The ceremony would usher in the First International Radio Conference for Indigenous Youth, to take place from November 26–28, 2013.
We traveled for five days by car, boat, and two airplanes to reach the remote community of Andoas in the Peruvian Amazon,” says Matilde Chocooj Coc, an Indigenous Q’eqchi Maya
Ua hoʻomaka ke aukahi hoʻokele waʻa Hawaiʻi ma ke ʻano he hoʻokolohua ʻepekema a pilikanaka. Ua hoʻokumu ʻia ka Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) ma ka makahiki ʻUmikumamaiwakanahikukumamakolu e Ben Finney he hulikanaka, Herb Kawainui Kāne he mea pāheona Hawaiʻi, a me Tommy Holmes he holokai a heʻenalu.
“We are now living outside of the laws of nature where nature is now turning against man and becoming the enemy. Climate change is the consequence of the fact that man is operating outside the laws of life and laws of nature, law of the balance of the world. And doing so will destroy the balance.” --Kogi