Category Archives: Quechua-Related Info

Iyarina to remember and in remembering, to reflect

I ended up in Iyarina, Ecuador this last summer thanks to an invitation by Dr. Tod Swanson, Associate Professor at Arizona State University, after my dear friend Dr. Osvaldo Sala connected us. At the time, I was auditing a Quechua class at NYU and became very interested in the indigenous struggle related to the preservation of their lands. We talked about climate change, ecology, indigenous identity and language. He sent me the link for the Field School  that he directs near Tena, capital of the province of Napo, one of the entrances to the Ecuadorian Amazon.

While working on my graduate studies in Arizona State, I was an assistant for different study abroad programs, one in Spain for a couple of trips, as well as one in Mexico. It was through these experiences that I recognized the key role of immersion in any field the student is taking on. Since I teach Spanish as a second language, I am an advocate for these kinds of programs that help improve and solidify one’s previous knowledge.

When I took my plane from New York to Ecuador, I was not really thinking much about the program. Argentina, my home country, was playing the first soccer match for the 2014 World Cup and I was also very busy finalizing my teaching semester at New York University. I got to Iyarina one evening a week after the program started, and what I saw left me speechless. There were more than 30 students, both undergraduate and graduate, from different fields: Anthropology, Linguistics, Philosophy, Law, Psychology, Literature, Geology; 3 professors: Dr. Tod Swanson, Dr. John Frechione and Dr. Samuel St. Clair; and a whole family making the program run as smooth as you can imagine.

I was assigned to one room with a graduate student in linguistic anthropology from the University of Michigan. In the room next door was Dr. John Frechione, Associate Director of CLAS at the University of Pittsburgh. It was a nerd heaven: after a delicious traditional breakfast, we had anthropology classes with Dr. Frechione every morning and. Then, depending on the rain, we would head to the jungle with two Napo Kichwa women to hear them teach us about ecology from their traditional knowledge with Dr. Swanson’s ethnobotany class. After that, we would have lunch, and head to the last class of the day on the Napo Kichwa language. Dr. Samuel St. Clair from BYU was also teaching biology at the same time as Dr. Frechione’s class. I would have loved to take this course, but it was impossible to take all the classes. I would also see his class walk to the jungle and conduct the classes right there, in situ, explaining the beautiful world of nature to his students.

When the first session was over, we had a week off, of which I took full advantage and traveled to Otavalo, in the Andes, and then to Mompiche, a beautiful small beach near the Colombian border. When I came back to Iyarina, some students had left but I met new students that were joining us for the second term of the summer together with other professors: Alana DeLoge, who taught health in the Napo Region, and Dr. Tim Savisky who taught sustainability. Dr. Swanson was also teaching the continuation of his ethnobotany course.

During the entire 8-week program, we made traditional style ceramics, learned how to prepare chicha (a drink made of fermented yuca), we learned how to cultivate and harvest lumu (yuca), we tasted amazing traditional food, and we lived as a “minga” (a collective of people working together) with the family that ran the accommodations for all of us. Some of the highlights of this program were studying together, talking about readings, walking through the jungle with members of the community learning about medicinal plants and, by the end of the 8 weeks program, being able to speak some Kichwa! I am planning on traveling there again this upcoming summer since it is, pretty much, heaven on earth for intellectual nerds. Chita rikangauranchi!

By Marcela Naciff, Visiting Lecturer at NYU

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A Successful Quechua Night with Filmmaker Gabina Funegra

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On January 30, filmmaker and academic Gabina Funegra joined the Runasimi Outreach Committee of NYU for a screening of the director’s award-winning documentary “Quechua, The Fading Incan Language.” In the film, Gabina — herself Peruvian but currently living in Australia — documents her journey to the town of Huallanca in the Peruvian Andes. It is here that Funegra explores the fading Quechua language, which her mother spoke but did not pass on to Funegra herself. After the film, NYU Quechua professor Odi Gonzales facilitated an enlightening Q&A with Gabina, which spilled over into an intimate reception where conversations about Quechua, language preservation and Andean culture continued well into the night.

Unique Courses, Great Opportunities, and Exciting Events: Welcome to Spring 2015

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Welcome to the spring 2015 semester. We certainly hope that your friends and family are safe and unharmed after this week’s blizzard. We are pleased to share several opportunities for faculty, courses being taught this semester, and an exciting schedule of events at CLACS.

The competition for Faculty Research Grants for summer 2015 and academic year 2015-16 is open. The deadline is February 17. The application this year is more streamlined, thus we encourage you to apply. More information can be found here. Also, applications are available for the Student Field and Research Grant. Those are awarded to Master’s and Doctoral students conducting fieldwork and research in Latin America and the Caribbean during this summer. The deadline for applying is February 23. For more details including an application checklist, follow this link.

Facebook Post eventOur list of events include the Spring Colloquium series titled “Latin American Independence in the Age of Revolution.” It includes a roster of talks by leading academics on the field such as Sergio Serulnikov, Victor Goldgel, Marlene Daut, Madison Smartt Bell, and Michael Zeuske. CineCLACS movie screenings feature the Indocumentales series, in partnership with Cinema Tropical, the Quechua/Kichwa film showcase, and tonight’s presentation of “Quechua, the Fading Inca Language” as part of Quechua Night, among others. Other notable events include our kickoff event “The Cuban Moment: Conversatorio on Cuba.” Also, on April 9th, a presentation of Aisha Khan’s latest book Islam and the Americas, and a conference on May 8th titled “José Antonio Aponte and his World: Writing, Painting, and Making Freedom in the African Diaspora” co-sponsored with the departments of  History and Art History. Our series of workshops and brown bag seminars will feature a presentation on “Science, Obea and religion in Trinidad” by Brent Crosson, and a workshop with famed photographer and author of Violentology: Manual of the Colombian Conflict, Stephen Ferry.

Most of our events emerge from faculty-initiated projects or proposals. Have ideas for future events or projects that CLACS could support? Contact CLACS’s new Outreach Administrator Omar A. Dauhajre at omar.dauhajre@nyu.edu and share your thoughts.

We are also very excited about our catalog of unique course offerings this semester. The colloquium, led by Professors Sinclair Thompson and Sibylle Fischer, and our seminars cover a wide array of topics that will prepare our students with a comprehensive view and exhaustive understanding of Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Those seminars include: Human Rights in Latin America by Professor Peter Lucas; The Color of Race in the Americas by Professor Aisha Khan; Government & Politics of Latin America by Professor Patricio Navia; Citizenships from Below (Latin America and the Caribbean) by Professor Edgardo Pérez Morales; Internship Seminar by Professor Pamela Calla; and Ethnographic Methods in Latin America and the Caribbean by Professor Katharine Smith.

CLACS offers unique Quechua Language courses taught by Professor Odi Gonzalez. Quechua students learn the most widely spoken indigenous language in the americas, and learn about the culture, history and struggles of its native speakers.

We wish you a wonderful semester and hope to see you at CLACS!

ROC From the Inside

Workshops and dancing space at Queens Museum Quechua/Kichwa night

Workshops and dancing space at Queens Museum Quechua/Kichwa night

I’m a proud first-year student in the Masters in Latin American and Caribbean Studies program, and I’ve been a part of ROC (Runasimi Outreach Committee) since I began the program. Every month, we host an event called a Quechua Night. Sometimes they are 20-people events in an NYU venue, and sometimes, as in the Queens Museum on the 30th of March, they are gigantic events. It was a grey and rainy Sunday, yet around two hundred people of all ages and origins showed up, ready to celebrate Quechua, Kichwa, indigeneity, and learning new things in a myriad of ways.

After Michael Abbott, our current president, began to address the crowd warmly and confidently in Quechua, much of the event became a blur to me, since I became intensely focused on teaching people how to embroider pre-Columbian iconographies onto wired ribbon bracelets. You see, textiles and handicrafts are one of my passions, and in ROC I’m able to share and impart this part of my life with others. There were many workshops that attendants could participate in: recording a podcast in Quechua with Christie Mladic-Janney, painting with Elva Navarro from New York Quechua Initiative, learning some Andean dance-moves, and more. Even after the workshops were officially over, people kept coming, eager to learn how to make a bracelet. A woman named Rosa simply wanted to embroider her name on a bracelet. At the end, she asked me if she could take some materials home to teach her sisters-in-law how to do it too. “Llévate no má,” I said, happy that the workshop was going to spread even beyond the borders of the event! And that’s really what it all felt like, the breaking of barriers and borders, and a raucous dance party to end it all.

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Quechua Mugs and Tshirts for sale!

Quechua mugs tshirts for sale CLACS NYUAllinllachu! We are excited to announce the arrival of Runa Simi Outreach Committee’s (ROC) promotional mugs and t-shirts. They will be available at all of our events for a limited time! Mugs are $15 each and t-shirts are $30. All of the proceeds from the sales of our new mugs and t-shirts go towards our future events and Quechua Nights. Help us spread the word! Each item features the phrase “Musphashanichu icha Runasimita Uyarishanichu?” (“Am I dreaming or am I hearing Runa Simi (Quechua)?”)
Interested? Contact CLACS!

Allinllachu! Estamos muy emocionados de anunciar la llegada de nuestras tazas y camisetas promocionales por Runa Simi Outreach Committee (ROC). Estarán de venta en nuestros eventos por un tiempo limitado! Las tazas son a $15 y las camisetas a $30. La recaudación de las ventas nos ayudará con nuestros eventos del futuro y las Noches de Quechua. ¡Ayúdenos difundir la palabra! Cada artículo cuenta con la frase “Musphashanichu icha Runasimita Uyarishanichu?” (“¿Estoy soñando o estoy escuchando Runa Simi [Quechua]?)
Interesados? Contacte al CLACS!

Quechua Celebration

The Runasimi Outreach Committee (ROC),  the Native American and Indigenous Students’ Group (NAISG) and the Movimiento Indígena organized Quechua Night and Celebration of Native Cultures. During the semester ROC hosted Quechua Conversation Nights and Quechua literature workshops with visiting scholar Gladys Camacho Rios.  They also publish a podcast series with interviews and conversation ins Quechua and Kichwa languages.

The event  brought together indigenous student and community groups for a night of Native dance and music performances. The atrium of the King Juan Carlos Center became the performance space for Silvercloud an inter-tribal Native American singing and dance group opened the event, Kalpulli Atlachinoll, an Aztec dance group and Steve Cotaquispe and Luis Aguilar performing the Danza de las Tijeras. Silvercloud opened the event with a drumming ceremony. Next, Kalpulli Atlachinoll officiated a blessing of the four corners. Steve Cotaquispe and Luis Aguilar performed a shortened version of the Danza de las tijeras, which can last for hours. The dance in performed in teams, with each dancer challenging the other.

Silvercloud.

Kalpulli Atlachinoll.

Steve Cotaquispe and Luis Aguilar.

Quechua Bingo in Queens

quechua night bingo NYC clacs runasimi A few days ago, we hosted our first BINGO night! We welcomed guests with any relationship to the Quechua languages at our event, which we held in Jackson Heights, Queens. We partnered with Pachamama Peruvian Arts, a non-profit that offers free traditional Peruvian dance and music instruction for youth in Queens. While they held their classes, we hosted BINGO!

To help those unfamiliar with the language, we passed out sheets that listed the numbers in Quechua. Our bingo caller was Gladys Camacho Rios, a Bolivian author and linguist who is visiting NYU for the semester. Although she called the entire game in Quechua, some of us held up the numbers as a visual aid. Players were awarded prizes from scholarly books on the Andes to woven coin purses—we even had a couple of bottles of pisco, thanks to the Peruvian Trade Commission!

Thanks to everyone who came and made this special Quechua Night a success. Given how much fun the night was, we definitely plan on throwing another Quechua BINGO night in the near future. Tupananchiskama!