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5 Indigenous Latinas To Follow And Support On Instagram This Indigenous Peoples’ Day

For decades, governments existing in countries across the United States and Latin America have used federal holidays in October to celebrate the Italian colonist Christopher Colombus. In recent years, however, as more people and governments come to understand and come to terms with the grave atrocities suffered by the Indigenous peoples that made up the lands in which Colombus pillaged more of us are refusing to recognize and honor him as the founder of the Americas, hero, and paragon of exploration that our earliest history books declared him to be.

As states across the U.S. and countries across Latin America continue to forgo dropping the early days of the second weeks of October as federal holidays, many have opted to rebrand and instead celebrate the Indigenous peoples who came before us. This Indigenous Peoples’ Day FIERCE is continuing to share our love for our Indigenous Latinas by highlighting women of today who make an impact and encourage the people around them to grow.

Here’s a look at 5 Indigenous Latinas to stalk and love.

Patricia Velasquez

Patricia Carola Velásquez Semprún is a Venezuelan actress and model who caught the world’s attention in a role as a villain the 1999 film The Mummy. Velásquez grew up with a mestizo father and a mother who was a member of the indigenous Wayuu people. Her Instagram account is marked by her work with UNESCO, OAS and her efforts as a Goodwill Ambassador for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Follow her here.

Ysanet Batista

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wedding lewks ????

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Ysanet Batista is the Dominican founder and chef of WokeFoods and brings a face and awareness to those who are unaware of the Afro-Indigenous Latinidad. Her Instagram page primarily focuses on her strife for food sovereignty and racial equality.

Follow her here.


Amanax is the Taíno Instagrammer who uses her platform and voice to highlight the lives, language, and culture of the Taino people of Puerto Rico. Her Instagram page consists largely of the ancestral practices of the Taino people and emphatically highlights that even despite what you’re history books might have told you, they still exist.

Follow her here.

Daniella De Jesús

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These legs were made for stuntin

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Fans of Orange Is The New Black will easily recognize De Jesús for her work as Zirconia on the show. The Taíno actress of Puerto Rican descent often uses her Instagram page to raise up her followers and fight for her feminist beliefs.

Follow her here.

Ashley Jacklyn

Ashley Jacklyn is the Taíno Latina mental health advocate and Instagrammer you’ve got to follow. Her posts are all about self-love and care, lifting the spirit and of course Latina Power.

Follow her here.

Read: A Latina Scientist And A Queer Latina Poet Won Two Of The 2018 MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grants

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‘Dawnland’ Is The Documentary Highlighting The Abuse Of Native Americans By The U.S. Government

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‘Dawnland’ Is The Documentary Highlighting The Abuse Of Native Americans By The U.S. Government

The string of familiarities might not be documented in detail within the pages of our U.S. history books but our government’s role in separating children from their families has a long and torrid past. The separation of immigrant children from their parents at the southern border this past year was only the latest example. Black slave children were routinely snatched from their families in the earlier years of our country’s history and at the same time, and for decades after, Native American children were torn from their homes and forcibly, sent to boarding schools, foster programs or sent to be adopted by white families located far away from their communities.

A new film, “Dawnland” tells the story of a commission that aimed to inquire into the separation of Indigenous children.


The documentary which dabbles in the preservation and restoration of culture and reconciliation for children stolen from their families offers a look into the country’s first truth and reconciliation commission for Native Americans in the country. Truth and reconciliation commissions have been set up by states in an effort to discover and unveil wrongdoings by a government particular during times of unrest, dictatorship or war. The first commission of this type appeared in 1994 in South Africa, years later dozens of countries, including Guatemala, Argentina and El Salvador, have used them to reconcile the wrongdoings of their governments.

“Dawnland” follows the efforts of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission launched by the state of Maine and five Wabanaki chief in 2011 in an effort to examine the practice of child separation in the area. At the time the commission worked to investigate the treatment of Indigenous people by the child welfare system from 1978 to 2012.

According to the documentary, by 1974, 1 in 4 Indigenous children were separated from their families. It also underlines that by 1978, the U.S. government had signed into law the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which set a string of criteria for the placement of Indigenous children in boarding schools and foster homes. Even despite the 1978 law and various commissions and investigations NICWA notes that Indigenous children are four times more likely to be removed from their homes than white children. Additionally, Native children are overrepresented in the U.S. foster care system, which, according to the NICWA, “has increased trauma” to Indigenous families.

Check out a trailer for the film below.

View the full documentary here on PBS.

Read: 10 Latinas On How They Plan To Continue Amplifying The Latinx Voice Post-Midterms

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Latina Reads: 9 Bolivian Authors And Poets To Get Fired Up About This Month

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Latina Reads: 9 Bolivian Authors And Poets To Get Fired Up About This Month

In a country that is known for its patriarchal views and the marginalization of women, some of the women on this list used the power of their words to promote equality. Today Bolivian women are in every position of power and its thanks in part to feminist icons like Adela Zamudio who used her poems to empower and enlighten. The nation is home to the largest population of indigenous people in South America and their voice and struggles are also represented in some of the publications on this list. Bolivians are among the largest group of migrants from South America in the U.S. with estimates around 200,000 and yet little is talked about when it comes to these feminist pioneers and their rich literary contributions.

This week, we’re reflecting on these positive and influential mujeres and why they need to be on your bookshelf.

Giovanna Rivero

Considered one of Bolivia’s most successful contemporary writers, Giovanna Rivero has received awards and acclaim for her short stories. Rivero, 46, has published four short story collections including “Las Bestias” published in 2005 and awarded the National Literary Prize of Santa Cruz. In 2006 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and later earned a master’s degree and doctorate in Latin American literature from the University of Florida. She has taught at her alma mater, the University of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Ithaca College. Her latest book, “The Darkest of the Forest,” is the sequel to “La Dueña De Nuestros Sueños,” (“The Owner of Our Dreams”) and it follows the three protagonists from the original novel as they enter adolescence and one’s battle with bipolar disorder.

María Mujía

Bolivian poet María Mujía is one of the nation’s first Romantic poets and one of its first female writers following its independence. She was born in 1812 and blind by the age of 14 but that didn’t stop her from writing more than 300 poems and a novel. She’s known for her honest and lyrical prose and melancholy and dark verses that led to her being known as the “La Alondra del Dolor” (“The Lark of Pain”). Her body of work was collected by Gustavo Jordán Ríos and published under the title “María Josefa Mujía: Obra Completa” in 2009. 

Blanca Wiethüchter

Historian, writer and publisher Blanca Wiethüchter is considered one of the most iconic poets in Bolivian literature. She was born in La Paz in 1947 and starting in 1975 she published fifteen collections of poetry along with several essays, short stories and a novel, “El Jardín de Nora”. She was a professor at the University of San Andrés and organized the creative writing program at the Bolivian Catholic University. She died in 2004 in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Yolanda Bedregal de Cónitzer

Poet and novelist Yolanda Bedregal de Cónitzer is commonly known as “Yolanda de Bolivia”, and is the founder of the Bolivian National Union of Poets. Through her works, she explored themes of isolation and loneliness and became known for her portrayal of human emotions. She published her first book “Naufragioi” in 1936 and released more than 20 collections of poetry, narrative and anthologies in the span of her career. Her work is commonly divided into three stages: the first stage explores the human condition, the second focused on symbolism, and the third centers around religion and the darker aspects of life. She died in La Paz on 21 May 1999.

Matilde Casazola

Matilde Casazola is a beloved singer and songwriter who has published thirteen books of poetry. She began writing when she was just 8 years old, taking inspiration from her environment, something she continued to do throughout her career. She published her first book of poetry in 1967 while she was in exile in Argentina where she developed her writing. Her most important works include “Obra Poética” published in 1996 which compiled 12 of her poetry books, and “Canciones del Corazón para la Vida”, a songbook that includes forty of her compositions of writing and music. In 2016, she received the National Culture Award in Bolivia. “My poetic works have often come to me in the darkness of sleepless nights, that is to say they’ve sprung from my conscious as well as my subconscious thought, and more or less in an onerous state. Melodies arise in my mind; they enchant me, and I try to memorize them. The majority of these melodies come with a poetic idea, too, so trying to decipher them and put them on paper is an interesting adventure,” she told the Bolivian Express.

Liliana Colanzi Serrate

Award-winning author Liliana Colanzi Serrate, 37, has published three short story collections including “Our Dead World” published in 2016. The novel, translated to English in 2017, tells the story of marginalized people and the contrasts between traditional and modern worlds in relation to indigenous history and colonization. In 2015 she won the International Aura Estrada literary prize, given to Spanish-speaking authors under 35 who live in Mexico and the United States. Colanzi studied social communication at the Private University of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and has a master’s in Latin American studies from the University of Cambridge, she currently teaches at Cornell University.

Ana María Romero de Campero

A prominent activist and journalist, Ana María Romero de Campero is also known for her literary works promoting democracy and human rights. She was the former Minister of State, first Defender of the People and president of the National Senate. Her books include “Not All Nor So Holy, Chronicles On Power”, about her time in the Ministry of Press and Information and the democratic resistance to the military coup. Her 2005 fiction novel “Crossed Wires” was inspired by her experiences in the Latin American Bureau of the news agency United Press International in Washington DC. Among the numerous awards she’s received, she was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the “1,000 Women for peace in the world” initiative in 2005. She passed away in 2010.

Adela Zamudio

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Cada 11 de octubre se celebra en Bolivia el Día de la Mujer Boliviana; es por el natalicio de su escritora más importante, y una de las precursoras del feminismo en su país: Adela Zamudio. Nació en Cochabamba y desde pequeña se interesó por la escritura; cuando llegó al tope de la educación ofrecida para mujeres en la época, siguió instruyéndose. A los 15 años publicó el poema Dos Rosas bajo el seudónimo Soledad, y a los 25 años sus poesías en El Heraldo, pero su primer libro, Ensayo poéticos, fue recién a imprenta en Buenos Aires en 1887. A esta publicación se sumaron después el compilado de poesía Ráfagas en 1903, e Íntimas, una novela de 1913; mucho material, desde cuentos a poemas y hasta obras de teatro, llegaron a imprenta tras su muerte. Es en Ráfagas donde aparece uno de sus poemas más famosos, llamado Quo Vadis, con el que se enfrentó a la Iglesia Católica. Criada dentro del catolicismo reinante en la época en América Latina, Adela Zamudio se volvió un nombre famoso en su país no sólo por sus poemas en estilo literario romántico, sino que por batallar por el laicismo en el aula. Tuvo una lucha epistolar con el Padre Pierini, sacerdote que después sería obispo, y que vio en Zamudio una enemiga de la fe. En Quo Vadis, Adela Zamudio escribió: “La Roma en que tus mártires supieron/ En horribles suplicios perecer/ Es hoy lo que Los césares quisieron/ Emporio de elegancia y de placer”. Además, la escritora dejó plasmado en sus poemas la precaria situación que vivían las mujeres. Otra de sus poesías famosas es Nacer hombre, donde ironiza sobre las infidelidades masculinas o el derecho a voto. Adela Zamudio siguió luchando por la educación de las niñas y niños de Bolivia, y se convirtió en directora. En su tumba se puede leer el siguiente poema: “Vuelvo a morar en ignorada estrella / libre ya del suplicio de la vida, / Allá os espero; hasta seguir mi huella / Lloradme ausente pero no perdida”. #mujeresbacanas #adelazamudio

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Considered Bolivia’s finest poet, Adela Zamudio is also the founder of the nation’s first feminist movement. She was born in Cochabamba in 1854 and published her first poem, “Two Roses” when she was 15 with the help of her father. She went on to become the director of a girls’ high school where she did something that was unheard of at the time- she promoted women’s rights. Her poems are considered intellectual and question religion and other ideologies, mainly focusing on society’s struggles, the revolution, and inequality. She refused to accept societal norms and battled with loneliness hence the pen name “Soledad”, which she used to publish several of her works including the controversial “Quo Vadis”. In 1926 she was given the Bolivian Crown of Distinction award, the country’s highest literary honor. In recognition of her feminist beliefs, Bolivian Women’s Day is celebrated on October 11, her birthday.

Isabel Ibañez

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The face of a girl who turned in the first round of her edits!!! ???????????????????????? I did it! Worked through 20+ notes/feedback in one month and now I get to work on the Book 2 submission package until I get line edits back for WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT (later this month)!!! . . . . On a whim, I decided to drive 2 hours to Brooklyn tomorrow for the Brooklyn Book Festival! Who else is going?! If you see me walking around by myself or trying to figure out how to parallel park my rental, come say hi to me! I’m way nice. 🙂 . . . #brooklynbookfestival #brooklynbookfestival2018 #authorsofinstagram #authorsofig #writersofinstagram #writer #writersofig #youngadultbooks #bookstagram #amediting #yalovin #bookstagram #writerscommunity #youngadultbooks

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Isabel Ibañez was born in Boca Raton to Bolivian immigrants and is set to publish her first book in 2019. The graphic designer, blogger and writer majored in creative writing and history and is  a mentor in Pitch Wars for the young adult category. Six years ago she founded the design and stationery studio 9th Letter Press and though she recently sold the company she remains their lead designer. Her debut novel, “Woven in Moonlight”, is a Bolivian-inspired fantasy that tells the story of a 17-year-old weaver who plans to overthrow the corrupt monarch of Inkasisa, it’s set to be released in the fall of 2019.

Read: Latina Reads: 7 Classic Literary Works Created By Costa Rica’s Most Beloved Women Writers

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