We are creating a unique environment grounded in indigenous culture for youth — many who are in fact indigenous — to help them explore indigenous traditions and culture. Currently there are no spaces in the Washington, D.C. region like this. To meet this gap, we have created the youth project, Restoring our Ancestral Knowledge To live Our Indigenous Identities Across Borders.
From September 5-14, 2017 the International Mayan League- an all volunteer, indigenous led and created organization- will partner with Grupo Sotz’il, a world renowned Maya Kaqchikel Contemporary Dance company from Guatemala. In collaboration with our local community partners, the Centreville Immigration Forum and the Dance Institute of Washington, Grupo Sotz’il will provide free dance and cultural workshops for 50 youth in the region. The workshops—which are open to all between the ages of 13-26, with a special focus on Indigenous youth with roots in Mexico, Central and South America— will take place from September 5 to September 14, 2017, from 5:00 - 8: PM. The first set of workshops will be held at the Centreville Labor Resource Center on September 5, 6, 7, and 8 at 5944 Centreville Crest Ln, Centreville, VA 20121 and then September 11, 12, and 13, from 5:00 - 8: PM at the Dance Institute of Washington located at 3400 14th St., NW Washington, DC 20010. This partnership will culminate in one free community performance featuring the U.S. premiere of Uk’u’x Ulew / Heart of Earth, an original dance performance by Grupo Sotz'il, and one free showcase, both presenting original choreography developed by the youth during the workshops.
Mexico, Central, and South America have been disproportionately affected by forced development projects, lack of recognition of indigenous peoples' traditional governments and political systems; and a continued fight for sovereignty and the right of self-determination which continue to threaten our survival as distinct peoples. But there are also seeds of hope! Indigenous youth are rising to the challenge through youth led movements defending Mother Earth, the rights of our peoples and our future!
Now more than ever, conflict, violence, and human rights violations have forcibly displaced many youth from Mexico, Central and South America. They are now part of the immigrant community and this is a direct outcome from centuries of unresolved conflicts, broken policies and processes. It is urgent that we come together and show the youth of our community that they matter! Day after day they are attacked by the media and live in constant fear of immigration raids, family separation and deportation. To address their critical needs, we are coming together to create a new narrative while Restoring Our Ancestral Knowledge through the facilitation of Grupo Sotz’il.