Immigrants’ Rights Translated into Quechua

Collective Kichwa Hatari translated an immigrants' rights guide into Quechua (Photo by Zaira Cortés via El Diario)

Collective Kichwa Hatari translated an immigrants’ rights guide into Quechua (Photo by Zaira Cortés via El Diario)

[Editor’s note: To read a translation of the following story in Quechua, complete with a glossary of important terms, click here. The story was translated into Quechua by Fabían Muenala.]

Ecuadorean indigenous collective Kichwa Hatari has translated a basic immigrants’ rights guide into Quechua in the wake of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) recent escalation of large-scale deportation raids carried out by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

“We are defending ourselves in our own mother tongue against the aggressive immigration policies as a way to give power to our community,” said linguist Charlie Uruchima, co-founder of the Kichwa Hatari indigenous organization. “The defense of immigrant rights is thought up and spoken about in English and Spanish, but our Latin American indigenous communities are emerging from the shadows and making their voices heard.”

Kichwa Hatari is a community initiative created by Ecuadorean indigenous people. Its mission is to produce original content directed toward the Quechua-speaking community in New York and throughout the country.

The group produces a weekly podcast on Radio El Tambo Stereo that serves as a link between immigrants in the U.S. and their families back in Ecuador. The program is made in a basement near Yankee Stadium.

Additionally, the collective develops unique resources such as the immigrants’ rights guide in Quechua, created as a response to the increased threat of raids and deportation issued by DHS that took effect earlier this month. The document was translated by Fabián Muenala, a radio commentator and co-founder of Kichwa Hatari.

“We are bringing resources closer to our community, and we are doing so in Quechua because this struggle is also about defending our culture, our history and our language,” said Muenala.

Even though there are no official figures regarding New York’s Quechua-speaking community, Uruchima estimates that it may add up to about 1,000 just in the neighborhood of Parkchester, in the Bronx. There are other major communities as well in Queens, Westchester County, Spring Valley and other cities in the north of the state.

A researcher of the Andean peoples, Uruchima said that most Quechua speakers in New York hail from the Ecuadorean provinces of El Cañar and Chimborazo.

Kichwa Hatari is preparing to launch a television program to be broadcast by BronxNet, and is also offering Quechua classes and other resources for the indigenous communities in the city.

The group is currently spreading the work on the immigrants’ rights guide in Quechua through social media. Segundo Angamarca, also a radio commentator and co-founder of Kichwa Hatari, said that, soon after the DHS announcement, dozens of immigrants called their radio station to ask about their rights and seeking to calm their fears over false reports of raids in New York.

“Many people want to get informed,” said Angamarca. “There are many questions, and it is best for our community to have them answered in Quechua.”

One Comment

  1. Hi there! Thanks for yhis article! Information on detention is also available in Tzutujil, a Mayan language, at Thanks!

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