The Quechua Alliance: Promoting and Celebrating Quechua and Andean Culture in the United States


Spoken by 8-10 million people in the Andes, Quechua is the most widely spoken indigenous language in the Americas, yet it is still considered endangered. As scholars Kendall King and Nancy Hornberger argue, “data from a range of sources indicate that a contraction of Quechua domains and a gradual cessation of intergenerational transmission of the language are well underway”. [1] According to Marcial Mamani, a native Quechua speaker from Coporaque, Peru, his children refuse to learn the indigenous language to avoid being bullied at school. Even though in Marcial’s hometown, older generations keep their native language alive, children speak mostly Spanish, since it is considered more prestigious. [2]

Aiming to promote and celebrate Quechua and Andean culture in the United States, the Quechua Alliance organizes an annual event with cultural activities, workshops, presentations, and discussions. The one-day gathering is open not only to the academic community, but to all Quechua language enthusiasts. Thanks to the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (ILLA) Travel Fund from the Center for Latin American Studies at UC Berkeley, I attended the 2018 Quechua Alliance Meeting, held at the University of Pennsylvania on November 17th, 2018. Being my first time at the event, I was thrilled by the overwhelming response to it: attendees included entire families, community leaders, college students, and professors from all over the country. Representing the Bay Area, there was the academic community from UC Berkeley, Stanford University and Saint Mary’s College of California.

Ana Lucía Tello
Publication date: 
April 2, 2019
Publication type: 
Blog Entry