2010 NZCLAS events

29 September 2010
Aotearoa and Kullasuyo: a Comparative Approach
Mayra Gomez, Bolivian, Peace Activist and Senior Programme Officer for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND)

Aotearoa and Kullasuyo are the original names of New Zealand and Western Bolivia respectively. This presentation will reflect on some commonalities and contrasts between the two, and how the processes of European colonization and cultural encounters have resulted in spiritual, cultural and environmental strains in both. Some examples are offered of how both countries assert their indigenous legacies in the present, emphasizing the fact that both countries today harbour a revitalized indigenous pride reflected in distinctive cultural manifestations of their original peoples in language, music, art, religion, healing, agriculture, diet, aesthetics, and institutions governing social life.

The Second Liberation Film Screening English and Spanish languages

Introduced and followed by a discussion led by Mayra Gómez

This documentary produced and directed by James Alonso Alvarez depicts Bolivia’s transformation during the presidency of Evo Morales. Elected in 2005, Evo Morales Ayma becomes the first self-identified indigenous president in Latin America since colonization. The indigenous led government faces fierce opposition from a minority of wealthy land owners threatened by Evo’s policies. Violence erupts and Bolivia is pushed to the brink of civil war. This film brings to light the reality behind the violence and chaos of the past four years. It shows the causes and faces behind Bolivia’s radical transformation.

2 July 2010
NZCLAS with the support of Ngä Pae o te Märamatanga and the School of European Languages and Literatures present:

Indigenism and Indigeneity: Contemporary Maya History and Culture
Professor Arturo Arias, The University of Texas at Austin

The most important response to the post-war period changes in Central America, to the exhaustion of testimonio and to the hybrid contradictions of representation of the subaltern subject by the Mestizo letrado, is given by Maya literature. Maya literature is a notable effort because of both its bilingualism and its representation of a uniquely different gaze on the Americas as a whole. It is also a renaissance of one of the great cultures of the Americas.

To understand this, it is important to first explain the concept of indigenism in Latin America, and how it stands in opposition to indigeneity. There is also a need to historicise the role the Maya population played in the Guatemalan civil war during the 1980s, and their expectations when a peace treaty was signed in 1996. The historical transformations undergone by the Maya population, exemplified by the Nobel Peace Prize given to human rights activist Rigoberta Menchú in 1992, explain a great deal of the impact generated by an indigenous movement that emerged from the margins in the 1960s and became protagonists of one of the most critical events in the late 20th century: the Central American civil wars

Professor Arias
is the former President of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA, the largest academic association of Latin American scholars in the world). A specialist in indigenous studies (editor of The Rigoberta Menchu Controversy, Minnesota 2001, on the Editorial Board of Mayan Studies Journal), and award- winning fiction writer, Professor Arias was nominated with three co-writers for an Academy Award for Best Original Script for the film El Norte, (1986) about Mayan immigrants to the US.

Hear an interview with Arturio Arias from Radio NZ