Languages not only imply a way of speaking, but also a whole culture. Therefore, the death of indigenous languages enhances the end of years of history and knowledge that were bound to it. It causes a discontinuity on the cycle of the legacy transmitted to future generations. The Latin-American continent was and still is the home of distinct indigenous ethnicities. Its lands are sources of years of extremely important indigenous lives and histories, as well their languages – being them dead, threatened with extinction or alive.
The Latin America Memorial Foundation, through the Brazilian Center for Latin American Studies – part of the Foundation’s command -, put together a Cultural Action which presented a view on the indigenous languages, promoted debate on the urgent necessity of thinking and proposing strategies for the preservation of these languages, especially those threatened with extinction.
This first, and main, activity was an exhibition that took place on the Marta Traba Galley, located on the Foundation, in september. The exhibition displayed the theme, presented the chosen languages (quiché, quechua, náhuatl and yawalapiti) and information on the languages threatened with extinction as well the policies dedignes to prevent this loss. Round tables and seminars, a Toré (traditional spiritual-religious indigenous ritual) and the publication of the 55ª edition of the Nossa América/Nuestra America (a journal published by the Foundation) were carried out simultaneously with the exhibition.
The Foundation and the Brazilian Center for Latin American Studies, taking into account the importance and relevance of the theme, decided to publish a book on this Cultural Action. The book will be free of charge and distributed to the public libraries in the city.