Culture

A PhD Student Made History By Writing Her Entire Thesis In An Indigenous Peruvian Language

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.

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He Gave Away Free Oxygen To Those Who Needed It, Then People Burned Down His Home

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He Gave Away Free Oxygen To Those Who Needed It, Then People Burned Down His Home

Peru is being ravaged by a deadly second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic. Few parts of the country are as badly affected as the remote Amazonian villages in the northeast of the country and cities like Iquitos.

The country has been one of the worst hit by the pandemic. For several months last year, it topped the per capita death charts. Officially, 1.2 million have been infected here while 43,880 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

One man’s effort to help those who have been most impacted, has nearly cost him his life.

As Peru now faces a daily oxygen shortage of 100 tons, Peruvians are becoming desperate for whatever oxygen they can get their hands on. Oxygen mafias are rising up to steal oxygen products and sell them on the black market for obscene prices.

Juan Torres Baldeón is a good samaritan who has, by his own estiamte, donated free oxygen to 8,000 desperate families in the jungle city of Iquitos. With his generosity, he’s likely saved hundreds if not thousands of lives in the process. But his generosity has also come with risks.

It began with crooks infiltrating the long lines outside Baldeón’s warehouse. The problem became so severe that the police and the military had to be called in to maintain order.

“We only give oxygen to those with prescriptions,” Baldeón told VICE News. “Normally, just half a tank, unless the patient is really sick, because we have to ration what we have. But we kept finding people in the queue who didn’t have a prescription, and when you asked them the name of the patient, they didn’t know what to say.”

Then he began receiving threatening phone calls, demanding he surrender his entire lifesaving supply of oxygen or leave his city behind.

That was when the criminals, who Baldeón believes are a local cocaine cartel, made their move.

In late January, Baldeón had left his home to go to the gym but quickly had to return. When he got back home, his office/home and four others alongside it were on fire.

“They probably thought I was inside,” he told VICE. “There’s nothing left now, just ashes. I feel for my neighbors. They didn’t even have anything to do with the oxygen.”

Thanks to Covid-19, oxygen has become a necessity for so many.

From Lima to Mexico City, residents have been forced to stand in line for hours on end and search far-flung neighborhoods to refill their oxygen tanks.

Normally, refilling a 10,000 liter tank of oxygen would cost around 100 Sols ($27). But with Covid-19 forcing so many to seek care at home with supplemental oxygen, some are paying more than $1,000.

Baldeón isn’t the only person to be threatened over oxygen supplies.

In Peru’s capital city of Lima, a district mayor was forced to send his family abroad following death threats that he received after setting up a municipal oxygen plant and distributing the essential gas to needy families, including to those from outside his district.

Yet even outside of Peru, his family remain unsafe, and they have had to change hotels after their whereabouts were discovered by the criminals, who also threw a grenade at his house.

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Capitol Rioter Drops Request To Travel To Peru After Being Called A Major Flight Risk

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Capitol Rioter Drops Request To Travel To Peru After Being Called A Major Flight Risk

You would think that those were involved in the attack on the U.S. Capitol, would have known that there would be consequences to their actions. Consequences like possible jail time, probation, or even a ban on their travel, but apparently not.

A second person charged in the attack on the capitol is now asking a federal judge for permission to leave the country – this time to Peru for his wedding.

A man charged in the U.S. Capitol riot filed a request to travel to Peru.

Troy Williams has been charged with several counts related to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. And although he faces serious consequences for his actions, he’s hoping a federal judge will grant him permission to travel to Peru to marry his fiancée.

Williams told the court in his filing on Tuesday that his fiancé currently lives in Peru and asked for permission to travel there to get married. 

When interviewed by the FBI, Williams admitted to attending the Stop the Steal rally on January 6 and entering the Capitol, though he said he had “no intentions of entering the Capitol building until everyone went inside,” and only entered due to “herd mentality.”

Williams is not the first charged rioter who has asked to leave the country. On February 5, a federal judge granted Jenny Cudd’s request to travel to Mexico for an already planned work-bonding retreat. Directly after she breached the Capitol, Cudd told a local news outlet that she would “do it again”.

Cudd was granted permission to leave the country by Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump-appointed judge in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Original Story Published on February 4, 2021:

In what can only be described as peak white privilege, a woman that was involved in the attack on the U.S. Capitol has asked for permission to go on vacation in Mexico. Not only did she participate in an attempted coup against the United States, but we’re also in the middle of a pandemic that is devastating Mexican communities.

A suspect in the attack on the U.S. Capitol has asked for permission to vacation in Mexico.

Jenny Cudd, a Texas flower shop owner and unsuccessful mayoral candidate from Midland, wrote to a federal judge on Monday asking for permission to visit Mexico’s Riviera Maya (near Cancun), a four-day “bonding retreat” with her employees.

“Prior to the alleged offense at issue, Ms. Cudd planned and prepaid for a weekend retreat with her employees for the dates of February 18 through February 21, 2021, in Riviera Maya, Mexico,” her attorneys wrote. “This is a work-related bonding retreat for employees and their spouses.” 

“Ms. Cudd has no criminal history and is a United States citizen,” Cudd’s attorneys wrote, adding that she is “a small business owner in Midland, Texas and an established member of her community.

USA Today reported Tuesday that the request had been approved, but issued a correction Wednesday saying the federal magistrate had not given her permission for the Feb. 18-21 “work-related bonding retreat” to Riviera Maya with fellow employees and their spouses.

Cudd’s next hearing is scheduled for Thursday, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram. A federal judge revoked her travel privileges outside the continental U.S. last month and ordered her not to travel to Washington unless it’s related to her case. If convicted on both charges, Cudd reportedly faces up to 18 months in prison and a $100,000 fine.

So, she storms the U.S. Capitol to overthrow democracy and wants a trip to Mexico in return?

Cudd, 36, is facing two misdemeanor charges in the Capitol siege: entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct. She posted a 25-minute Facebook video detailing her actions that day, saying she and other Donald Trump supporters decided to “storm the Capitol” after alleging that then-Vice President Mike Pence “betrayed” her and other “patriots” there.

Cudd claimed she and others didn’t “vandalize anything,” but acknowledged being part of a group that broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. She later denied all wrongdoing to a Texas news station.

“I did not break any laws,” Cudd told KWES last month. “I went inside the Capitol completely legally and I did not do anything to hurt anybody or destroy any property.”

And she claims that she would do it again! “So what they’re trying to do is cancel me because I stood up for what it is that I believed in,” Cudd told KWES. “And I can tell you this – and I’ve told everybody this – I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Not to mention, the world is still in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and Mexico is no different.

As if storming the capitol wasn’t enough, Cudd also seems to forget (or simply not care) that the world is still battling the Coronavirus pandemic. Mexico has been hit particularly hard and although the country remains open to tourism, local hospitals are seeing record-breaking occupancy.

So the call remains for everyone to stay at home, including those who attempted a coup against the U.S.

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