Heritage Survival Across Borders: Identity, Language and Migration

57 minutes

Welcome to CultureMade: Heritage Enterprise in a World on the Move, an audio collaboration between the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the American Anthropological Association, and This Anthro Life Podcast. 

In this fifth and final episode, Adam Gamwell, Leslie Walker, and Ryan Collins focus on cultural survival, a complex subject framed by migration, misconceptions over language and identity, as well as by resilience of the human spirit across borders. With a subject like cultural survival, the question comes to mind, what factors threaten shared heritage, tradition, and disband communities? Here we are joined by Alejandro Santiago González (Ixil), and Mercedes M. Say Chaclan (K’iche) representatives of Washington, DC-based Mayan League, an organization working to sustain Maya culture, communities, and lands. Alejandro and Mercedes share their experiences and give insight into the ongoing struggles Maya peoples face today, including issues of language, translation, and communication for indigenous immigrants who are currently in the United States. Helping to elucidate this subject, we are joined by Ph.D. Folklorist Emily Socolov, a frequent collaborator with the Smithsonian Institution’s Division of Folklife and Cultural Heritage and an Executive Director of the Non-Profit Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders, serving the Mexican immigrant community in New York. 

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