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Interconnecting Worlds: Weaving Community Narratives, Andean Histories & the Library’s Collections

Yachaysapa Willakuykuna: Andean Life & Memory through Storytelling

Stone Hieroglyphics, near Aipe, on the Left Bank of the Magdalena, Province of Neiva.

Manuel María Paz, artist. Stone Hieroglyphics, near Aipe, on the Left Bank of the Magdalena, Province of Neiva. Comisión Corográfica.1857. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Yachaysapa willakuykuna, stories of wisdom in Runasimi, have been a sacred custom for Indigenous peoples in the Andes for hundreds of years. Willakuykuna (stories) can take the form of intergenerational narratives, oral histories, poetry, folktales, testimonials, and more.

Andean storytelling details the struggles, triumphs, and historical memory of its Indigenous peoples. It is a reflection of the human experience through the lens of ancestral wisdom and the strength of Andean communities. As such, willakuykuna can be filled with humor, irony, conflict, and lessons.

Additionally, stories from across the Andean diaspora exist beyond academic literature. A major component of Andean storytelling is its oral recounting. Many Indigenous communities and families work to ensure their stories are preserved within their ayllu and passed on to younger generations through oral storytelling.

Narratives from the Ayllu

Elva Ambía’s experiences as a Quechua speaker growing up in the Andes and community leader living in the U.S. greatly contributed to the development of Qoricha, a trilingual children’s book. Written in Quechua, Spanish, and English, Qoricha centers a story about friendship, while helping to promote multilingualism. Jessica Huancacuri, Ambía’s mentee and friend, provides a look inside this special children's book.

From the Library

The following selection of Library resources, such as biographies from Andean peoples, and community narratives from Andean storytellers, contribute to the mosaic of Andean storytelling through distinct perspectives. Staff in the Hispanic Reading Room can provide access to the materials located at the Library of Congress. If you cannot visit us in person send us a message through Ask a Librarian to further assist you.