Intercultural & Bilingual Training
Hundreds of Yanomami communities identify with the Venezuelan and Brazilian national cultures. They frequently engage with political functionaries, medical personnel, missionaries, educators, NGOs, and other indigenous peoples. Recognizing that their global threats require adaptation, innovation, and international collaboration, the Yanomami leaders have asked for programs that teach them the skills for navigating their changed society. Government, non-government, and Yanomami leaders addressed this by creating Intercultural and Bilingual Schools throughout the territory.
One strategy is to integrate traditional ancestral knowledge with the national curriculum. This intercultural education has successfully taught communities how to read and write in Spanish, Portuguese, and Yanomami, helping to successfully train Yanomami medics, school teachers, spokespersons, and government leaders. The Yanomami take great pride in engaging with the greater world while maintaining their traditional values and customs. They appreciate the shared mission to protect their lands, language, and culture while gaining innovative tools and skills to push back against the harmful effects of environmental destruction, the spread of novel diseases, and cultural degradation.
Intercultural education is a valuable tool for Yanomami youth in understanding the significance of preserving ancient knowledge, especially in light of novel modern-day threats. However, it must be acknowledged that there is a risk of transculturation associated with it.
The fading practice of passing down ancestral knowledge from elders to younger generations is a cause for concern in specific communities. This trend could lead to eroding their cultural authenticity and ancestral identity. Additionally, once considered primary sources, the textbooks need to be more relevant in reflecting Yanomami contemporary lifestyles, needs, and environment. The Yanomami school teachers have recognized this issue and are advocating for updated education programs, improved training, and interactive teaching methods incorporating audiovisual tools.
The Yanomami Foundation is dedicated to supporting the education of the Yanomami people by integrating their traditional knowledge with intercultural training. Our focus is primarily on public health, particularly for communities that are affected by introduced diseases and other health challenges. We prioritize disease prevention by teaching disease pathology and promoting public health measures that respect their traditional beliefs and values. Additionally, we strive to raise awareness about the status of the Amazon and the destructive effects of gold mining, while preserving the ancient knowledge and way of living of the Yanomami people.
Cultural preservation is crucial, and we aim to promote indigenous knowledge, wisdom, and information. To increase global appreciation for Yanomami culture and its role in protecting the Amazon rainforest, we digitally document the Yanomami people's shifting ways of life.