Saturday, January 12, 2008

Join us Monday 1/14 at 2 pm for a talk by Professor Almidio Aquino, Director of Proyecto Kuatiañe'e, or the Language Notebooks Project

Happy new year!

Please join us on Monday, January 14, 2008 in Gorgas Library room 205 from 2-4 pm for a bi-lingual lecture with Professor Almidio Aquino, Director of Proyecto Kuatiañe'e, or the Language Notebooks Project

(Flier for this event is available to view and print at )

This important project aims to maintain the indigenous Ava Guaraní language and culture in Paraguay by producing reading and other materials for the children of the community. For centuries, the Guaraní were a people whose language formed the cultural foundation of Paraguay. Over the years, their numbers have dwindled and the Guaraní culture and language faces possible extinction. Dr. Aquino leads this effort to maintain the language and culture of the Ava Guaraní people of Paraguay. Aquino and his Language Notebooks Project team have worked to record Guaraní oral histories, as well as other materials, and seventeen books have been published through the project.

Professor Almidio Aquino has devoted his life to preserving the language and culture of the Guaraní. He has conducted extensive qualitative research interviewing, visiting, and interacting with the various aboriginal groups. As a result of Professor Aquino's work, which is called Proyecto Kuatiañe’e, 17 books, three cassettes, and a trilingual dictionary was published. The publication of this material is significant as they were the first books available for Ava Guaraní children (1 of 6 Guaraní tribes) in order to learn and celebrate their unique culture and language. Professor Aquino co-wrote an article entitled Proyecto Kuatiañe’e: Saving a Language for Children (2005), published in Childhood Education (6), 349-354. Prof. Aquino has given talks at UAB, Southeastern La. U. and at the Lasso conference.

Nearly 20 years ago, the powerful motion picture The Mission, starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons, was released, bringing worldwide exposure to the Guarani aboriginal people. Based on historical events from the 1700s and set in Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina, the film was simultaneously moving and inspiring, yet also a disturbing presentation of how the Guarani Indians found themselves at the epicenter of a geo-political, religious conflict between the Crown of Portugal, Spain, and the missionary Jesuits. The picture ultimately ends with a spellbinding scene in which three naked, surviving Guarani children board a small canoe to start a new life elsewhere after their community is completely destroyed by European troops. For several centuries, the Guarani, whose language formed the cultural foundation of Paraguay, have significantly decreased in numbers and there is a real danger of their culture and language being completely lost. Indeed, the Ava Guarani aboriginal group numbers approximately 2,000. (1) In order to raise more awareness of the important cultural contributions made by the Guarani and to help preserve their unique identity and heritage, the authors highlight the vital work that is being accomplished through Facultad de Lenguas Vivas / Institute of Guarani Linguistics in Asuncion, Paraguay.

This fascinating lecture will be given in Spanish with translation by Alicia Cipria and students from the Spanish program at The University of Alabama. The talk will be followed by a reception featuring refreshments with Latin American flavors. As always, this event is free and open to the public!

This event is co-sponsored by Modern Languages and Classics, UA Libraries, Capstone International Programs, and the Departments of Anthropology and History.

We hope to see you there! And be sure to visit the UA Libraries events page at for exciting upcoming lectures and more!

Jessica Lacher-Feldman, MA, MLS, CA
Public & Outreach Services
Coordinator/Associate Professor
The W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library
Box 870266
The University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0266 USA

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