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Pai, why do we speak spanish?

The other day, coming home from school, my six-year-old son asked me a very interesting question.

- Pai, why do we speak spanish?

Bueeehh, I sighed inside myself.

- For the same reason that right now we are not speaking Runa Simi (Quechua), the language of your maternal lineage, or Arawako, the language of mine.And for the same reason that Spanish is spoken (with its accents and variants) in other countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, among others. We were invaded, mijo. And as part of that colonial project of invasion and occupation, they wanted to erase our native cultures and languages, and their foreign language was adopted as the official language, creating cultural alienation and low self-esteem for our people. They called us savages and Indians who needed to be 'civilized', what was local or roots stopped being valuable compared to what was foreign. So much so that even today if we say 'jariniando', someone jumps to correct it to say lloviznando, judging any vestige of indigenous language that remains in our way of speaking to be poor language, lack of education or uncivilized.

- So I want to learn Quechua and Arawako!!

- Anhan!Wayánuhaba wahiyani.(Yes! We will speak our languages.)

- And how is it that Quechua and Arawako are still spoken?

- I'll tell you the story of how our people, despite the colonial invasion, resisted and survived to keep our culture, tradition and ancient wisdom alive. More than five hundred moons ago, which is like five abuelas ancestras, some men came in large ships along the northern Sibao coast of my island, and with their arrival many things changed.

They came from what is known today as Europe, they spoke Castilian from Castile, because Spain did not exist like today. They were hungry and sick, they had spent a long time lost at sea. My ancestors received them like any person who came from afar with good food and good treatment. However, despite our diplomacy, they insisted on occupying our island and taking our wealth.

We resist even today, maintaining our culture as best we could in the face of that great change that came with a lot of killing and violence for our people. They burned the huts of our Yucayekes, they built on our temples, they took our sacred pieces, in short, they did many things to impose their customs and their language on us in their desire to dominate our people and our ancestral territory.

We had to survive by resisting this great change in various ways, from maroonage of manieles and quilombos to learning the language and dressing as 'criollos', among many other cunning and unusual ways. And thanks to those women and men from our peoples of Abya Yala and Africa who fought, our people continue today. The sad thing is that it was not enough for them to invade our island, from there they continued to the rest of the continent of Abya Yala and other places in the world, and like them, others who spoke French, Dutch, Portuguese and English also came.

Nonetheless, many indigenous languages of Abya Yala continue to be spoken today, the original languages of our lands, which preserve our memory, worldview and wisdom. That is why today we have to learn our languages and keep our culture alive, as the embodiment of the prayers and dreams of our ancestors who are, the future ancestors of today.

And so we open the next Arawak Language and Cosmovision Circle for our Ancestral Karibe Community and Family so that we can practice our native language.

Whether you think you know nothing about Arawak, that you have learned a little, or that you are studying another variant of Arawak, come share!

In this way we also extend the bridges between the variants of the indigenous Caribbean languages as it was before, and we practice to understand each other as a family, in conversation and dialogue, expanding the vocabulary, while studying the Cosmovision teachings.

Waibá! Let's go!

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Centro de Saberes Ancestrales del Caribe

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