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Across the Americas: Youth-Led Cultural Exchange

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Dear Generous Reader,


I am writing to share my story and why I am launching this campaign in collaboration with the Kusi Kawsay Association in Pisac, Peru.

Our program: “Across the Americas, a youth-led cultural exchange,” is a Quechua youth-led cultural exchange program that will inspire a global youth movement to elevate and reignite Indigenous wisdom, amplify youth identities, and reconnect us.
The exchange will bring 12 Quechua youth and 3 Amaru weavers to Taos Pueblo and engage with many New Mexico Pueblos and Native American organizations. Our campaign will introduce the travelers and their lives. They are excited to share their wisdom, practices, and traditions and learn from their interactions with the New Mexico Pueblos and other audiences.

I am inspired to create this campaign with my relatives from the South, whom I have known since childhood. Re-connection of Native Peoples across the North and South is vital to preserving Indigenous ways of being and the lands. Trade routes brought together members of Indigenous civilizations across the continent, creating relationships and communities that transcend today’s national boundaries. Only together can the Indigenous peoples of the Americas ignite the potential of Indigenous wisdom to bring Mother Earth to balance.




It is important for me to work alongside the Kusi Kawsay Association. They have over twenty years of experience working toward their long-term goal of sharing experiences through cultural exchanges among Indigenous peoples in the Americas so that all participants may learn from each other’s cultures and ancestral lands, from the knowledge of multi-generational community leaders, and the contexts of diverse, striving, and thriving Indigenous communities.

The Kusi Kawsay Association is a UNESCO-recognized, non-profit organization based in Pisac, in the Sacred Valley in the heart of the Peruvian Andes. Their efforts began well over two decades ago, inspired by the values and traditions of their Andean Indigenous culture when they committed to preserving their way of life and passing on their ancestral knowledge, wisdom, and traditions to their children and communities. Kusi Kawsay’s projects were birthed with a vision for a happy life and the hope for a livable future for their children where they may be proud of their culture and celebrate their traditions freely. Their vision for a beautiful, nature-inspired movement juxtaposes today's harsh reality: discrimination, racism, and injustices. Their communities, and especially the children, have been inspired by Kusi Kawsay’s resistance, strength, perseverance, and commitment, which have now been manifested in three flourishing projects. The lives of many dedicated community leaders and allies are devoted to the Ñawpa Ñan Cultural Project, Kusi Kawsay Andean School, and Kusi Ñan Organic Farm.
Learn more about Kusi Kawsay here: https://kusikawsay.org/en/



For those of you who do not know me personally, I am Indigenous from the tribal community of Taos Pueblo. I was born to Robert and Dawn Mirabal. I am the eldest of three stunning young women, Kona Sunrise and Masa Rain. As an indigenous birthworker my travels from north, central, to south America have added value in enriching and deepening my connection to indigenous people in their reproductive time. My intentions have been to be a midwife for my community, but my community has lacked the resources, and remembering of how we were tended to during this time, and I knew that by traveling throughout the Americas to other corn-centered cultures, that they would be able to help me recover teachings, and in return, I could offer what I knew.

During the pandemic, we would fantasize about our past and future travels. Remembering how welcomed we felt by the land and people of the Sacred Valley. Traditions through eating, dancing, ceremony, tending to soil, saving seeds to plant, tuning up the tractors, and mending the work tools were how we were raised, but I can’t say that it was how other children were raised in my community. When I first came to visit Peru via a cultural exchange opportunity, I was immediately inspired and transfixed by how involved people my age were in how they showed up to agriculture and ancestral traditions. It made me want to breathe travel opportunities into existence, to expose my tribal members to the gift of connecting to another community still so rich in culture, and for the people I had met in Peru to have the same opportunities. If I couldn't support tribal members going to Peru, I would facilitate and show up to the possibilities of community members from Peru to visit, with the intention of reigniting the magic within the hearts and spirit of my peers and relations of Taos Pueblo.

In every waking moment, I am wishing for our friends and family at Kusi Kawsay to be acknowledged so that they may share their wisdom and create lifelong memories within my community. Please know that we aren’t alone as tribal people, and for those who have helped to support our tribal people, my love extends out to you.

Thank you/Tah ah,

Aspen

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Our total budget to begin this Indigenous youth-led cultural exchange is $50,000.
Here’s what we need to accomplish our goals:
Ground Transportation: $2,000
Lodging: $3,000
Visas and passports: $5,000
Meals: $10,000
Round trip flights from Cusco, Peru to Taos, New Mexico, U.S.: $30,000

We are optimists, so we are thinking ahead as to what happens when we exceed our goals! Funds surpassing our goal will be held for future cultural exchanges and cultural events and initiatives. The Kusi Kawsay Association frequently organizes a variety of events throughout the year which focus on decolonization and self-determination.




Donaties 

  • Eileen Waldow
    • $20 
    • 1 yr
  • Jennifer Paulden
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
  • Ellen Petry Leanse
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Elliot Paynter
    • $20 
    • 1 yr
  • Jeannie Thomas
    • $50 
    • 1 yr

Organisator

Aspen Mirabal
Organisator
Taos, NM

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