Last week we had the honor to share our space with Dr. Patricia June Vickers who generously shared her knowledge and experiences as an Indigenous woman, artist and writer in dialogue with the students in the Span 402 class participating in the project “Palabras Madres”. Patricia is not only our cultural Indigenous consultant but also this term she curated a chapter from her latest book, Singing to the Dark for our students to translate into Spanish.

Students are working on chapter 4, “Memory Is Simply Memory”, and during the conversation Patricia explained why she choose it for “Palabras Madres”:

“This chapter somehow represent the core of what the experience of going through the healing process was about and the place of memory in it.”

Dr. Vickers guided students on their reading and they shared their translations showcasing advances, discussing key words, as Patricia pointed our “mother words”  and challenges they found in the process as well as their learning about the Mapuche people of Chile and Argentina. She emphasized how important it was to have a safe space to work collaboratively, to link historical and contextual experiences transcending borders through conversation, and how words have more than meaning but cultural rooted energy. Finally she talked about  the importance of questioning language and learning to listening not only to words but to nature and art.

The class gifted Patricia with a volume of poetry by Mapuche author from Argentina, Liliana Ancalao in a bilingual anthology.

Thank you Patricia for your teachings, your kindness and for you generosity!