“What is your full name”
“Luis Abel López – ‘Patch’”
“What is the name of the people that you are from? Where were you born and when?”
“I am Colla which are the descendents of the Aymaras, who are the ancestors of the Incas. The children of my grandparent must carry the last name of both parents, my father's last name is López (of Spanish origin) and my mother's last name is Mamaní, (originally spelled Wamani but erroneously written Mamaní in the process of “castellanización”. In the original spelling Wamani means: “Echo of the mountain” in Quechua language).
The great family Wamani has a history of important leaders, marked since the migration toward the south during “the expansion” and the loss of lands of the Incan people.
Currently, my grandfather Manuel Mamaní is Cacique of Orinoca, a town in the interior of Oruro – Bolivia. He owns land that extends to the lake Po po.
From the Orinoca people, there are important musicians and leaders such as, “Evo Morales” and the “Imperial Band” that are of recent generations.
I was born in the City of Buenos Aires– Argentina, April 4, 1978.”
“What are your interests? What are your goals for the future?”
“I like to listen to music in general from classic until folkloric rhythms. I like to meet new people all the time and I love to travel (when I have time and it is economically possible). I am fanatic of the Internet, and all new technologies (I would like to be able to have technology and internet access in my house).
I admire people who leave everything in order to do what they love the most. I love working with children, in game situations, talking with them, and having outings … all the time! I like to help and to feel useful when they need help.
One of my goals is to study Medicine to be able to exert and endorse good governmental practices inside my country where the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities don't have access to the health system. I would want to go into an area needing more resources and repeat the experience that I had in my trip to the Amazon in 2002/2003, to work in a community and to serve my Indigenous neighbours.
I also want to backpack to Mexico, to find my ancestral roots and to know all the cultures that follow the way of the Incans, or also known as the Pan American way. As well, I would like to finish writing my book of memories and events lived in my trip throughout South America that will call “Searching the Green Mountain” of which I have already written 13 chapters.”
“What do you want the world to know about you and your people?”
“I want the world to know about the wealth of our culture and of the changes and setbacks that have happened with the imposition of a foreign culture in our lands.
I would like them to value us as human beings and not as relics without a past.
I would like the world to respect our worldview, our identity, religion, languages, traditions and our undertakings in life.”
“Are there certain aspects of your culture that help shape your identity? Can you describe them?”
• The accompaniment of elders in the education of the children.
• The transmission of the rites and culture from father to son.
• The transmission of Indigenous culinary practices which are nutritionally based in corn.
• The use of medicinal grasses instead of chemical medications.
• The gratitude given to “Pacha Mama” (Mother Earth, in Quechua) and to Tata Inti (Padre Sol).
• The belief in the equality of the Aborigines (people of the earth).
• Solidarity and the valued commitment to one’s word.
“What are your reflections on the past between your people and the government of the land you live in? Are there certain anecdotes you would like to share concerning the historical and/or present relationship of your community and the dominant society?”
“Currently, in my country, my Native brothers have no choice but to leave their towns of origin, looking for a better life for their families. Their rights are not respected and in many cases they are killed for not carrying their identity papers and this goes unpunished; they are being threatened and silenced. They are forced to move to cities like Buenos Aires and others, to work or to study, this does not help preserve the wealth of the values and customs of the communities.
One should consider that the origin and the nature of the ills that plague our communities derive from the expropriation of our lands, territories, and unrecoverable natural resources (like the indiscriminate pruning of trees, contamination of rivers, lakes, etc...), as well as centuries of devastation to our cultures, values and the negation of our existence as the original peoples.
During time there has been perverse manipulation and disruption that has impeded our ability to be autonomous organized which is necessary to be able to build our own destinies as well as a national destiny. The politicians and representatives have lost their legitimacy and now every time people have to request something they have to make it with a measure of force. It is sad, very sad to see this situation.
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