For Abiayala to Live, the Americas Must Die

Emil Keme, Associate Professor of  Spanish, Associate Chai, Romance Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In this talk Keme will embrace the Guna people's and Mamani's petition with the objective of proposing Abiayala as a transhemispheric Indigenous bridge. By invoking this category, I propose to develop a dialogue that could potentially lead us to develop political alliances in the formation of a new Indigenous and non-Indigenous historical bloc that opposes ideas and civilizational Eurocentric projects like "Latin (America)," "Latinity," or "Americas," as well as extractivist economies based on capitalism and socialism at national, continental, and intercontinental levels.6 I believe that the moment is appropriate given the permanent threats to our cultures, languages, territories, and identities we face in every country in and out of the hemisphere, against nation-states that characterize themselves by recycling colonialist logics that continue disfavoring us. Like the struggle of the Guna people against Moody and their epistemological articulation of the category of Abiayala, we need to develop collective Indigenous strategies and knowledges in the restitution and dignification of Indigenous life and our sovereignties.

Emilio del Valle Escalante (K’iche’ maya) is originally from Guatemala. His teaching and research interest focus on contemporary Latin American literatures and cultural studies with particular emphasis on indigenous literatures and social movements, Central American literatures and cultures, and post-colonial and subaltern studies theory in the Latin American context. He has been concerned with contemporary indigenous textual production and how indigenous intellectuals challenge hegemonic traditional constructions of the indigenous world, history, the nation-state and modernity in order to not only redefine the discursive and political nature of these hegemonic narratives, but also interethnic or intercultural relations. His broader cultural and theoretical interests cluster around areas involving themes of colonialism as these relate to issues of nationhood, national identity, race/ethnicity and gender.

Organized by LASC Research Cluster Indigenous Studies in the Americas, Narratives of Belonging and Land Reclamation.

Thursday, April 18 at 5:30pm


Norlin Library, Mabel Van Duzee Room, Norlin 424B
1157 18th Street, Boulder, CO 80309