Over the weekend, Jennifer Lopez was performing in the Dominican Republic for the first time. During her performance, she ended up on stage with her ex-husband, the still very smooth, and the newly be-neck-tattooed, Marc Anthony. Meanwhile, her new, genetically enhanced beau and former Yankee, Alex Rodriguez, lurked on in the cut like a creeper.
Over the weekend Jennifer Lopez performed in the Dominican Republic, while her new boyfriend Alex Rodriguez watched herthem Marc Anthony, like a hawk.
Scholars at Lima’s San Marcos university say it’s the first time a student has written and defended a thesis entirely in a native language. Roxana Quispe Collantes made history when she verbally defended and wrote her thesis in Quechua, a language of the Incas. While Quechua is spoken by 8 million people in the Andes with half of them in Peru, it speaks volumes that this hasn’t happened before at the 468-year-old university, the oldest in the Americas.
Quispe Collantes studied Peruvian and Latin American literature with a focus on poetry written in Quechua. The United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages program has Peru a part of a global campaign to revive 2,680 indigenous languages at risk of going extinct. Peru is home to 21 of those languages.
Roxana Quispe Collantes brings Inca culture to her doctoral candidacy.
Quispe Collantes began her presentation with a traditional Inca thanksgiving ceremony. She presented her thesis “Yawar Para” (or blood rain) by using coca leaves and chicha, a corn-based alcoholic beverage in the ritual.
For seven years, the student studied Andrés Alencastre Gutiérrez, a poet who wrote in Quechua, and used the pen name Kilku Warak’aq. For her thesis, she analyzed his mixture of Andrean traditions and Catholicism.
“I’ve always wanted to study in Quechua, in my original language,” she told the Observer.
Quispe Collantes traveled to highland communities in the Canas to confirm the definitions of words in the Collao dialect of Quechua used in the Cusco region.
“I needed to travel to the high provinces of Canas to achieve this translation and the meaning of toponyms that I couldn’t find anywhere,” she said. “I asked my parents, my grandparents and teachers, and [it didn’t prove fruitful].”
Quechua entering the academic discourse can help preserve it.
“Quechua doesn’t lack the vocabulary for an academic language. Today many people mix the language with Spanish,” she said. “I hope my example will help to revalue the language again and encourage young people, especially women, to follow my path. It’s very important that we keep on rescuing our original language.”
Her doctoral adviser Gonzo Espino told The Guardian he believes Quispe Collantes’ thesis was a symbolic gesture.
“[The language] represented the most humble people in this part of the world: the Andeans, who were once called ‘Indians’. Their language and culture has been vindicated,” he said.
It should go without saying but the doctoral candidate received top marks on her project.
Quechua is the most widely spoken indigenous language in South America.
The oldest written records of Quechua were in 1560 in Grammatica o arte de la lengua general de los indios de los reynos del Perú by Domingo de Santo, a missionary who learned and wrote the language. Before the expansion of the Inca Empire, Quechua spread across the central Andes. The language took a different shape in the Cusco region where it was influenced by neighboring languages like Aymara. Thus, today there is a wide range of dialects of Quechua as it evolved in different areas.
In the 16th century, the Inca Empire designated Quechua as their official language following the Spanish conquest of Peru. Many missionaries and members of the Catholic Church learned Quechua so that they could evangelize Indigenous folks.
Quispe Collantes grew up speaking the language with her parents and grandparents in the Acomayo district of Cusco. Quechua today is often mixed with Spanish and she hopes that “Yawar Para” will inspire others to revisit the original form.
Peru takes Quechua to the mainstream.
Under the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages campaign, this year, Peru began the official registration of names in its 48 indigenous languages.
The U.N. launched its initiative to preserve indigenous languages in 2019 after the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues determined that, “40 percent of the estimated 6,700 languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing. The fact that most of these are indigenous languages puts the cultures and knowledge systems to which they belong at risk.”
According to the Guardian, for years, Peruvian registrars refused to recognize indigenous names on public records. They would then force indigenous people to register Hispanic or English-sounding names on government forms while keeping their real names at home.
“Many registrars tended not to register indigenous names, so parents felt the name they had chosen wasn’t valued,” said Danny Santa María, assistant manager of academic research at Reniec. “We want to promote the use of indigenous names and recognize the proper way to write them on birth certificates and ID documents.”
In 2016, Peru began airings its first news broadcast in Quechua and other native languages, ushering into the mainstream.
“My greatest wish is for Quechua to become a necessity once again. Only by speaking it can we revive it,” Quispe Collantes said.
Only five of the remaining eighteen Democratic candidates attended a presidential forum on Latinx issues at Cal State Los Angeles over the weekend. Secretary Julian Castro, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigeg, and billionaire Tom Steyer attended. Notably absent were other leading candidates like Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Cory Booker, and Senator Amy Klobuchar.
According to a November 13, California statewide Latino Decisions poll, 31 percent of voters planned to vote for Sanders, 22 percent for Biden, 11 percent for Warren, 9 percent for Castro, and 9 percent for Harris. A whopping 74 percent of registered California Latinx voters said they would be voting in the Democratic primary.
Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro
“I’m running for president because it’s time for new leadership because it’s time for new energy and it’s time for a new commitment to make sure that the opportunities I’ve had are available for every American,” he said.
Castro said he would reform our current immigration system and undo the policies imposed by the Trump administration. He emphasized support Dreamers and their parents.
“No matter what happens in the Supreme Court with DACA, if I am elected president I will immediately, by executive order, find a way to protect our Dreamers and also to protect their parents, and then immediately push for fixing our broken immigration system in Congress,” Castro said.
California Senator Kamala Harris
“When elected I will take executive action and reinstate DACA protections but I’m not going to stop there,” Harris said. “I also intend to fully extend DACA protection to parents and siblings.”
Harris says she would address the student loan debt crisis by offering free community college and forgiving loans of families earning less than $100,000 annually. She also said she would make student loans interest free.
“We have to invest in the people of our country and one of the smartest investments we can make is in our students and in our young people who want to get an education after high school,” said Harris.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
Sanders emphasized that undocumented immigrants would be covered by Medicare for All.
“When we talk about Medicare for All—A-L-L—it means all,” the U.S. senator from Vermont said. “It means every man, woman and child in this country including the undocumented. Medicare for All means that there are no longer any premiums, no longer any copayments, no longer any absurd deductibles and no longer any out-of-pocket expenses.”
The Vermont Senator also discussed the hardships young Latinxs with undocumented parents go through in the U.S.
“I have talked to a lot of young people who are scared to death that when they come home from school their mom or their dad may not be there,” Sanders said. “Kids who are living with trauma and under great emotional distress.”
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg
“The Latino voters that I speak to are extremely concerned about health care, about the direction of our economy, about immigration policy and about something that’s deeper than any policy issue – which is the way people are being treated, singled out and told they do not belong,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg said as president he would invest $430 billion into housing when asked about rising costs.
“Part of what we have to do is make sure our economy actually works for us, not just numbers on a page or the stock market, but what we earn—what you earn as you emerge into the working world—rises as quickly as those costs,” Buttigieg said.
Billionaire Entrepreneur Tom Steyer
Steyer said he would ensure that the rights of asylum seekers were recognized and would end the family separation policy.
“As a value-driven country that wants to be partners with other countries around the world in solving our common problems, including in this hemisphere, I think it’s absolutely critical that we be dealing fairly with these people, both for their sake but also to project who we are so that we can be a trusted and decent partner for countries and people around the world,” Steyer said.
Steyer says he does not support Medicare for All, but rather a public option where some could keep their private insurance.
“It’s a public option where everyone has the right to health care,” Steyer said. “But we don’t ask the 160 million Americans, including tens of millions of union workers who have negotiated to get their health care through their employment, to give it up by law.”
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