A Brooklyn Paper Published in Indigenous Languages

The front page of Zenka Sunqu’s Fall/Winter 2017 issue. (Image courtesy of Zenka Sunqu via Brooklyn Paper)

Zenka Sunqu, a volunteer-run newspaper printed in Williamsburg about indigenous peoples in the Americas, is offered in four languages – English and Spanish, Nahuatl and Quechua. The paper, which is owned by the indigenous advocacy organization Movimiento Indigena Asociados, started in 2012 to allow “indigenous people to have a voice,” editor-in-chief Javier Enriquez tells Brooklyn Paper’s Adam Lucente.

The paper’s name combines two words from the ancient tongues it is published in: Zenka — which means “daily” in Nahuatl, a language also known as Aztec that is native to central Mexico — and Sunqu — which means “heart” in Quechua, a dialect that originated in South America’s Andes mountains.

Its articles and poems — which are also printed in Zapotec, which some Mexicans still speak today, and Chibcha, a language that originated in Colombia — cover an array of indigenous themes in the Americas and beyond, according to Enriquez.

“We cover topics ranging from the World Indigenous Games in Brazil, to the preservation of aboriginal land in Australia, and archaeological objects in Cambodia,” he said.

And Zenka Sunqu’s journalists write about their own backyard, too, including a report on the education of immigrant children in the local public-school system, which one contributor recently slammed for overlooking the indigenous pupils in its classrooms.

Go to Brooklyn Paper for more on the newspaper’s targeted readership beyond indigenous peoples, native rituals organized by the staff, and why, despite the recent issue possibly being the last, Enriquez remains “optimistic.”

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