Accepted paper:

Filming with Wixárika youth

Authors:

Pekka Kantonen (University of Arts Helsinki)
Lea Kantonen (University of the Arts Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

As digital media are rapidly expanding as methods of transmitting oral history among the young members of Mexican Wixárika community, will video files replace other art forms such as songs and woven patterns in the transmission of oral knowledge from the elders to the young people?

Paper long abstract:

In the videos filmed by the young Wixaritari at the Tatuutsi Maxakwaxi secondary school, they show themselves walking by the river, shooting arrows, weaving, and taking ritual sculptures to sacred places together with their family members. They sing Mexican pop songs in Spanish and comment them in Wixárika language. Very few of them have ever physically traveled beyond their neighbouring community, but they have visited foreign countries and learned songs in Internet. In our paper we discuss the contradictions, tensions and mutual agreements in our joint video planning and filming for the collection of the Tsikwaita community museum. How to negociate between the teenagers, their teachers, and the elders of the community? All agree that video is necessary for documenting, archiving and preserving Wixárika traditions, but the crucial question is how to do it properly. Wixárika young people combine visual styles of global youth cultures with the Wixárika language and oral history. The school teachers give very detailed advice about filming. The community elders are preoccupied with obeying the ritual obligations for the deified ancestors. As digital media are rapidly expanding as methods of transmitting oral history among the young members of Wixárika community, these technologies will influence Wixárika understanding of their cultural heritage and the relationships between generations. Will video files replace other art forms such as songs and woven patterns in the transmission of oral knowledge from the elders to the young people?

panel P116
Youth and indigeneity on the move: mobilities, transcultural knowledge, and sustainability