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Abya Yala: the indigenous name for the American continent.


Did you know that the American continent has a name of indigenous origin? It's Abya Yala, which means 'land in full maturity' or 'land of vital blood' in the Kuna language, spoken by the Kuna people, who live in Panama and Colombia. This name was proposed as an alternative to the term 'Latin America', which is considered Eurocentric and colonial, as it refers to the Latin origin of the Romance languages (Spanish and Portuguese) and to the Genoese navigator Amerigo Vespucci, who named the continent after himself.


The use of Abya Yala as a form of cultural identity and respect for the nature of the continent began in 1992, when 500 years of the arrival of Europeans to the American lands were completed. It was in this year that the Bolivian indigenous people Takir Mamani (also known as Constantino Lima) and Fausto Reinaga, both leaders of the Tupak Katari Indigenous Movement, released the name Abya Yala, which they had learned from the Kuna on a visit to Panama in 1977.


Since then, the name Abya Yala has been used by various organizations and indigenous communities throughout the continent, as a symbol of unity and belonging, and as a way to decolonize the thinking and history of America.



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