Qapariyninchik... Our Voice, Our Cry
¡Nuestro grito!

Qapariyninchik (ka-par-ee-NIN-chik) is a word in Quechua which means “our voice.” The Duke University Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) is adopting this word as a way of celebrating the voices of Indigenous peoples in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Qapariyninchik/Our Voice, Our Cry: Linguistic Justice in the Americas is a series of academic talks and film, music, rapping, and dance events presented by CLACS and its cosponsors at Duke University, beginning with the film “Eami” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, and continuing with a week of events March 25-29, 2024.

All events in this series are free and open to the public.

For decades CLACS has supported efforts of the revitalization and reclamation of Indigenous languages in the Americas. This is part one of an ongoing series which will share via academic, documentary, and artistic forms the fact that Indigenous languages of Latin America and the Caribbean are strong and striving thanks to collaborative linguistic activism and efforts.  

Many languages spoken by Indigenous peoples are endangered or at risk. The Linguistic Justice in the Americas series aims to call attention to them and to the multiple efforts to preserve and revitalize them, particularly those that are rooted in communities, not only in academic work. Language justice addresses the dignity and right of the people to maintain their culture, among other things, said CLACS Director Liliana Paredes.

“We often take language for granted, yet it is the foundation upon which we build our understanding of the world, define our identities, and shape our cultures,” Paredes said.

“Language wields a profound influence over our lives. It can be a tool to include or exclude others, and it is through language that we forge communities. Therefore, the vulnerability and loss of a language carry deep consequences, affecting not just the individuals who speak it, but also the rich tapestry of knowledge it contains.

“This series offers a space to think, talk about and reflect on these points, in the context of Indigenous languages,” Paredes said.

Puerto Rican Taíno scholar and activist Sherina Feliciano-Santos visits Duke to give a talk at 5:30 p.m., Monday, March 25 in Friedl 107. An associate professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, she is the author of A Contested Caribbean Indigeneity: Language, Social Practice, and Identity within Puerto Rican Taíno Activism.

Many consider Taíno to be an extinct ethnic category, but in focusing on Taíno/Boricua activism, Feliciano-Santos aims to identify a critical space from which to analyze and decolonize ethno-racial ideologies of Puerto Ricanness, issues of class and education, Puerto Rican nationalism and colonialism, as well as essential questions regarding narrative, historical memory, and belonging.

Her talk is followed by a reception at 6:30 p.m.

still from Woman of Stars and Mountains film

On Tuesday, March 26, filmmaker Javier Campos López will present his documentary “Mukí Sopalírili Algué Gawichí Nirúgame.” The title in Raramuri, a language from the Tarahumara Range in Mexico, translates to “La Mujer de Estrellas y Montañas” or “The Woman of Stars and Mountains.” The film is the story of an indigenous woman from Mexico who left her community and went on a journey to Kansas, where she was detained and committed involuntarily to a psychiatric hospital for 12 years, even though the hospital authorities were never able to determine who this woman was, where she came from, or what languages she spoke.

The film will be screened at 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 26 in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Hall (Room 240) in the John Hope Franklin Center (2204 Erwin Road). Light refreshments will be served.

Another program of films on Amerindian Language Justice will be screened at 6 p.m., Thursday, March 28 in the in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Hall (Room 240) in the Franklin Center.

Director Gunza Villafaña will present her film “Sey Anchwi (Communicating Worlds or Comunicando mundos) on the lives of the Arhuaco, Barasano and Wiwa peoples of Colombia. Mexican director Ana Hilda Vera will participate remotely to discuss her film on a court case involving Raramuri indigenous rights, “Nachúnema: El Juicio de Ramiro (Ramiro’s Trial).”

Interpreter Lupita Pérez Holguín will also participate remotely to discuss the film “Las Visitadoras,” a documentary that portrays the work of community interpreters and activists for language use for those incarcerated in Mexican prisons. Light refreshments will be served.

The week concludes on Friday, March 29, with a special concert by Liberato Kani, Quechua-language hip-hop singer and songwriter. Kani leverages his music as a powerful conduit for activism, championing cultural preservation and the revitalization of Indigenous languages.

The concert also includes special guests Tijeras dancer Yana Paqcha from Andamarca in Péru and Kaqchikel Maya rapper Mario “Kamikal” Yaxon Guarcax, from Guatemala and Durham, N.C.

poster for Liberato Kani and Kamikal concert on March 29

Doors open at 6 p.m., Friday, March 29 in the Richard White Lecture Hall on Duke’s East Campus. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public with general admission.

At the age of 9, Liberato’s mother’s death prompted a move to Umamarca, Apurimac, located in Peru’s highlands, where he lived with his paternal grandmother. While living there, he learned his family language, Southern Quechua, and connected with Andean traditions. His first album Rimay Pueblo was internationally acclaimed, although it also sparked controversy due the fusion of traditional Andean sounds with contemporary urban rhythms.

Opening for Liberato Kani, will be Mario “Kamikal” Yaxon Guarcax, a native of Chimaltenango, Guatemala, where he formed a rap group with his older brother. The pair have become known for their lyrics that speak to themes of social justice in their indigenous language, Maya Kaqchikel.

Mario came to the United States 6 years ago, fleeing death threats from former paramilitary soldiers in his community who disapproved of his brother’s counter-culture music and social justice activism. Now in North Carolina, Mario works in roofing by day and writes lyrics and mixes beats by night.

Rounding out the evening with dance will be Tijeras dancer Yana Paqcha from Andamarca in Peru. The Tijeras, also known as the scissor dance, is an amazing display of colorful movement and acrobatics performed with ceremonial scissors.

For more information on these events and to see the promotional video by Miguel Rojas-Sotelo, special events coordinator for CLACS, visit

This series gratefully acknowledges the co-sponsorship of Duke Arts, Duke Romance Studies, the Duke Human Rights Center @ FHI, the Program in Latino/a Studies in the Global South, and the Forum for Scholars and Publics, and the collaboration of the El Quixote Festival – Voces Indígenas.