Photo: Jorge Francisco Sanchez Ramirez 

Photo: Jorge Francisco Sanchez Ramirez 

For decades, youth from Mexico, Central and South America have been forcibly displaced from their ancestral lands due to war and genocide- many who are in fact, indigenous. They are now a large population in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. In addition to the historical trauma faced by the youth, migration itself causes its own spiritual and emotional impacts. As a Maya organization whose original Maya founders were all forcibly displaced from their ancestral lands, we understand the importance of preserving and transmitting our cosmovision and worldview, to ground us in the present and guarantee the vitality of our future generations. 

The current climate of terror, hatred, and racism toward immigrants and refugees has created increased challenges for the youth in our communities. Attacked because of their identity, many live in fear, and often resort to hiding their indigenous identity as a form of survival. We consider art to be medicine, and that it is an integral part of our lives; not only a reflection of our world, but a way to reimagine and create it. Jointly we are creating a space with youth in order to Restore Our Ancestral Knowledge to Live Our Indigenous Identity, using Maya art, culture, spirituality and our identity as the source of the cosmic energy necessary for the regeneration of the very life essence found in our identity.

To Understand Our Past is to Live For Our Future

Our elders say, if we do not know where we came from, then we do not know our present and cannot understand our future. Today, Maya and many diverse native youth live outside of their communities, often not by choice. In this moment it is vital to develop ways to cultivate our ancestral and energetic bond to the place where our umbilical cords are buried. Without our heritage and our lands, we as indigenous peoples die. Restoring Our Ancestral Knowledge to Live Our Indigenous Identity Across Borders is the path we believe is missing - art is the medicine that allows us to return to our ancestral knowledge and traditions while connecting us to our contemporary world, to find the good way and live within this space and time.

Our resolve to bring this knowledge to our youth is stronger than ever because we know its power to heal and to open new ways of being and living in the world. Join us!