Wixárika youth in Western Sierra Madre as carriers of traditional and technological knowledge
Katri Hirvonen-Nurmi (Helsinki Univeristy)
Paper short abstract:
In a network of intercultural Wixárika schools, youth are given tools to develop their language, their traditional skills, and knowledge. This paper addresses a community museum project, linked to the school, where Wixárika youth can apply their mobile imaginations.
Paper long abstract:
In 'Uweni muyewe, a rural Wixárika community, children are introduced to non-human entities through the cultivation of maize as they learn the basic their culture. Compulsory state schooling and curriculum weaken their traditional knowledge. According to a student, "After finishing school, I hardly spoke my language at all. When I entered college, they told us about Wixárika culture, and they were things unknown to us. Then the teachers told we would build a museum, and we said we would participate, too. Since then I've considered it important that the culture doesn't disappear." In 2016-2017 I did participatory research in the 'Uweni muyewe college, teaching English, museology, and filming. Life in an intercultural community college was rewarding: courses in Wixárika language and culture, indigenous rights and community development helped the students to maintain their indigenous identity. Also, through other subjects they could prepare themselves for higher education, which would mean moving to cities. Today, the Wixárika school network aims to preserve material and immaterial culture in museums. The idea of community museum is to benefit the community in conservation and documentation, including those in search of jobs outside the communities. Both teachers and students participated in the projects' video workshops. Whereas some teachers expressed doubts, that without the closeness of maize fields Wixárika culture cannot continue, the young people were happy to apply their knowledge in mobile technologies. Parochial and mobile imaginings appeared as a generational difference.
Youth and indigeneity on the move: mobilities, transcultural knowledge, and sustainability