Tuīkuru Anihu Xinãya Traditional School
The key to cultural preservation is in the next generation. Since the missionary occupation, the Yawanawá language is barely spoken outside of the tribe’s elders. There are very few youth who speak the language fluently and few families who know how to tell the traditional stories for educating children as they grow.
As recent years bring rapid change and growing westernisation, this becomes a growing concern. Named after the great Yawanawá leader, the Tuīkuru Anihu Xinãya School is an independent space dedicated to teaching these (and other) vital aspects of the Yawanawá culture as well as modern sustainability.
Focused on the youth, but open to anyone who wants to learn, the school will host regular workshops with elders who have something to share. These workshops may last a couple days or longer.
The school proposes to hold regular ‘Cultural Immersions’: to bring together younger members of the tribe for a period of 2 weeks to one month. For the duration of the immersion everyone present will engage in traditional practices, activities and exclusively speak their own language. Besides cultural study, modern sustainable practices will also be taught in a practical way to bring a mindset that values the rainforest.
This idea has previously been carried out successfully but didn’t continue due to the lack of a dedicated space to realise the work. An immersion like this would have a profound effect on the next generation, bringing them together to discover the value of their heritage.
Virtual workshops and learning materials
Another proposal is to develop learning materials such as books and audio/video recordings. The workshops that take place will be hosted by various elders who guard the ancestral knowledge of the Yawanawá. Over the last years, several such elders sadly passed away leaving their knowledge only in the memory of others. Registering their teachings in this way would both support learning within the school and record this vital knowledge to preserve it for the future.
Sharing with the western world
The school’s focus is within the local community, but it will be open also to share with the western world. The materials that it produces will be made available online and there will be a limited availability for westerners to attend events in person.
As global interest in indigenous wisdom grows, this format serves to help individuals around the world as well as tying in to the vision of self-sustainability through ethno-tourism that forms the model for modern indigenous communities’ survival.