Rosalba Solis, director of La Piñata Family Network, was our guest speaker. Her topic was "Nuestras raíces – our roots," and she challenged RCC students to debunk myths surrounding the "discovery" of the Americas by Christopher Columbus. Her interactive talk included theater and visualization. Attendees were encouraged to rediscover the wisdom and power of the original inhabitants of the Caribbean islands and to recognize the millions of African slaves and other imprisoned people who were brought here.
Ms. Solis also discussed how the European invasion involved misinterpretation, genocide and cultural appropriation, as well as a massive displacement of native people and Africans. She invited attendees to rediscover truths about this part of history and to take responsibility to make this history known. One such opportunity is an upcoming event celebrating the Mayan Day of the Dead. Students in Spanish classes will be corresponding with indigenous graduate students in Bolivia in conjunction with this event; others enrolled in the College Experience and English classes are reading The Brief and Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao and The Farming of Bones which help students explore the consequences of this history.
Ms. Solis, whose ancestors spoke Náhuatl, grew up in Mexico and came to Boston to study music. She has been teaching children and sharing native cultures through dance since the eighties.
This year’s celebration was organized by Elizabeth Clark, Susan Kalt, Nasreen Latif, Gloria Castro and Autumn Haag.
Authored by Sue Kalt, Professor Spanish at RCC