For the past few years at the Ayni Institute we have been working with communities in Latin America to support the development of books and films told from the perspectives of indigenous communities. We were motivated to do this work by our experiences struggling to find accessible resources that represent our ancestral cultures in Latin America. Through this work, we have noticed the absence of indigenous perspectives from mainstream narratives and institutions, and we have experienced the difficulties of getting these voices into the public square.
We have launched Our Voices to highlight content developed by indigenous authors, educators, and artists. Eventually, we hope to be part of a larger movement that values their material, and our voices, being included in educational & community institutions across the country.
Through Our Voices, we want to bring forth stories from indigenous communities that have been historically marginalized, misrepresented, and subject to the lens of “the other”. These stories bring us closer to the cultures of our ancestors, and they also teach us different ways to examine the world, relate to the Earth, and create change.
Our Voices aims to organize a community of students, parents, and educators to advocate for the inclusion of educational materials from indigenous communities in their institutions. We want to empower members of the community in the United States to take the lead and request that their institutions include educational resources from indigenous communities in their libraries and curriculums.
We also want to recuperate and preserve the ancestral knowledge and wisdom of the many indigenous communities of Latin America by sharing their stories in our own communities. In this way, we are able to reconnect with our community, ancestors, and the earth.
To us, building an online site and publishing monthly newsletters that highlight indigenous educational content is a first step towards our bigger goal of providing more accessibility to indigenous voices at our schools & communities as well as preserving the ancestral knowledge of the ancestors. This is a step towards making the education system more inclusive and diverse - and we are learning how to do so from our indigenous ancestors!