Peru

Building a Bridge from the Prairies to Peru

By Dani Boily

In case you haven’t heard, we’ve added a new spot on the map to UM Travel/Study programming. Now, students can explore Peru while enriching their perspectives in Education and Indigenous culture.

Sometimes, to understand our own culture, we need to explore another. Peru is full of culture and experiences to inspire new knowledge and understandings for our students.

They travel by planes, trains and automobiles to visit Lima, Cusco and Puno including the Floating Island communities of Uros and Taquile of Lake Titicaca.

This program, led by Dr. Laara Fitznor, Faculty of Education, gives students first hand opportunity to observe and learn about the past and present realities of Indigenous history and how it has informed the identities of Peruvian people with Indigenous heritage today.
Students immerse themselves in historical and present Peruvian Indigenous culture through observations and engagement within the communities. Local partners mentor and guide the group through the communities and act as their eyes, ears, and voices. Leaders and scholars teach students about the experiences and artefacts of ancestors. Students also have opportunities to participate in traditional ceremonies.

Through these experiences and learning about the ongoing themes and issues that challenge traditional knowledge, students can draw the parallel between the way Indigenous people have been affected in Peru versus in Canada and gain a new understanding of the gradual erasure of Indigenous heritage and how it has affected our culture.

As part of the program, students are required to engage with readings, story work, and review literature that addresses Indigenous knowledge and perspectives on Indigenous repatriation, language renewal, cultural reclaiming, culturally relevant teaching and research. They also participate in field visits with local people to archaeological sites and communities.

Along with unforgettable memories, this program will send students home with an enhanced understanding of historical to present Indigenous-Modern relationships.