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Voicing the Silences: Poetry by Ruperta Bautista Vazquez

October 16, 2017, 7:00 pm8:30 pm

Ruperta Bautista Vázquez is a Tsotsil Maya poet and playwright, anthropologist and popular educator. She was born in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, where during her childhood there were few indigenous people. Many chose the path of cultural erasure as a necessary survival strategy, while Ruperta and her family continued to speak Tsotsil and maintained strong ties to the cultural practices of their Tsotsil community of Huixtán. Ruperta was the only indigenous student in her elementary school where she began privately writing poetry in Tsotsil as a way to minimize the pain of marginalization.

Ruperta holds academic degrees in Social Anthropology, Education, and Cultural Diversity as well as professional training in creative writing and indigenous rights. As a poet, she uses her ancestral language in ways that are contemporary and vital; as an activist and popular educator she works with indigenous women and youth in literacy and Maya empowerment projects.

Her poetry, written in both Tsotsil and Spanish, expresses the suffering and silencing of the Maya people, but also celebrates the language and cultural practices of her community. Her poetry draws from the wisdom of the ancestors and weaves it into a rich textile of natural images that are relevant and necessary for the 21st century.

Sponsored by Environmental Council.


October 16, 2017
7:00 pm–8:30 pm


Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute
1411 Ellis Ave.
Ashland, WI