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Incan Culture and Quechua Language Nowadays Essay


There is a proverb in the Incan culture, which is pretty much connected with the way indigenous people percept, love and admire their life values and traditions: “It is better to die while standing, then live on your knees.” (Orlove 131). The language of Quechua that is originally used in this proverb, is by itself presents the struggling and deeply traditional character of the Incan people, who nowadays still manage to preserve their cultural peculiarities and fight for their rights to be expressed. One of the main reasons why Incas are still known and remembered is the ability to save and to esteem the traditional way of thinking, the rituals, the history, which certainly find the reflection in modern culture as well.

Inca’s history is dated back to rather early years, but they say that it was not a people in the ordinary meaning, but the whole empire with quite a logical and well-developed culture. After coming to the Cuzco valley, Incas created the whole infrastructure with the roads, architectural buildings and golden constructions to make the Empire of the Sun. Unfortunately, now people have little left from all the Incan treasures, and it is noteworthy that searching for the remaining pieces of the Incan art never stops even now. Like all ancient civilizations and cultures, Incas, now Peruvians do everything to remain distinctive, which is clearly reflected in art. Thus, Incan art is known all over the world, and every year people come to Peru, to see the national costumes, try the food, speak to those who know much about ancient times and hear the Quechua – the original language of Incas.

However, the situation with Incan traditions and culture seems to be not so optimistic. The fact is that most of the Incan population descendants live now in Peru and there are much more obstacles on their way for preserving the cultural peculiarities of their ancestors. Here, the Quechuan language can be a considerable example of struggling for tradition and culture preservation. Nowadays, Peru seems to be bilingual, and both Quechua and Spanish languages should be equally used and promoted. Nevertheless, the situation with Quechua is not so encouraging. The matter of the largest concern is that Spanish is becoming the language of authority, privilege, and power in Peru. Almost all educational institutions promote and develop Spanish as the main language. People are not encouraged to speak Quechua, it is becoming inconvenient to use the language, and as a result, the language is unpopular. Mass media also rarely uses Quechua as the language of information and it is not so often aural. All these factors considerably influence the attitude of the society towards the preservation of traditions.

The Peruvian government proposes some actions to make Quechua more usable and popular. For example, it concerns the education in Peru, where the authorities have tried to promote and develop the bilingual studies program. It could be a well-planned decision, but unfortunately, it does not work as well as they thought. The fact is that, in urban areas mostly Spanish is used and developed, and those parents whose children are to study by the bilingual program, often vote against it. It can be probably explained by the lack of popularity and prospective viability of Quechua. It is also logical to mention that the educators who can use, practice, and teach Quechua are the people from rural agricultural areas, and they often have little education themselves. This controversy exists now, but the government does not change or reconstruct the educational plan. All this leads to a conclusion that instead of real acute actions towards preserving and promoting Quechua, the authorities tend to profess these actions. However, Quechua being an ancient language with the long history, even living now, can extinct in some nearest time, because such a cultural notion must be always supported and preserved by actual means and collaboration of government and people (“Can Quechua Survive? | Cultural Survival”).

Indigenous people in every existing nation are known by their struggling character and strong traditional beliefs. As well as the Incas, the Native Americans also have the long history of fighting for their rights, which does not stop even now. Recently, the world saw the Standing Rock reservation issue, and it becomes the example of the power of thought and strength embedded in Native American traditions. In 2016, the people of the reservation made a stand against the building of Dakota Access Pipeline on Missouri river, and it lead to a severe fight between the US government and the indigenous population of the Standing Rock. The media wrote that there were injuries and open conflicts with the authorities, which made the whole world oppose the proposed construction. The trouble of the pipeline is that Missouri river water is the only water source for the Standing Rock reservation. Jeopardizing this water supply opportunity is threatening the whole infrastructure, which is ruining for people living in the area. Nevertheless, billions of people all over the world support the Native American population at the Standing Rock, they see this support and they are still struggling for survival. The governmental authority use the language of power and pressure against the oppositionists, which ruins the image of thoughtful and respectful to other traditions America, but this example shows the free and struggling nature of the original population of the land. This simple fact connects and unites the Incas and the Native Americans in their capability of saving the culture for the future (Cox).

However, not only the American continents can show the examples of such traditional struggle. For instance, the eastern culture can be illustrated by the story of Tibet in terms of culture preservation events. Tibetan people are also those who continue struggling for the independence and the diversity of their culture even now. “The Tibetan people are a distinct race with its own spoken and written language, culture, traditions, food and dress.” Surely, the cultural aspect is not the only one that influences the development and building of the population, but ancient tribes like the Incas, the Native Americans and the Tibetans, whose descendants live now try to save the past for preserving the future (“Glimpses On History Of Tibet”).

Overall, it is not so easy to preserve the ancient culture, which is not only valuable, but also very interesting for the people living after it. Indigenous population is different in different countries, but they all can be united by the vital desire to save the traditions and to show that they can live forever. The Incan art and culture are among the most ancient existing indigenous evidence of one separate population. That is why it is rather important to provide actions and plans on preserving the distinctiveness of Incas together with their own language, way of thinking and dedication to rituals. Otherwise, no culture seems to have a long future.

Works Cited

“Can Quechua Survive? | Cultural Survival”. Culturalsurvival.Org, 2017.

Cox, Melissa. “Trump Is In; Now Where Does Standing Rock Stand?”. Truthout, 2017.

“Glimpses On History Of Tibet”. Central Tibetan Administration, 2017.

Orlove, Benjamin S. Lines In The Water. 2nd ed., University Of California Press, 2013

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IvyPanda. (2020, September 9). Incan Culture and Quechua Language Nowadays. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/incan-culture-and-quechua-language-nowadays/

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"Incan Culture and Quechua Language Nowadays." IvyPanda, 9 Sept. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/incan-culture-and-quechua-language-nowadays/.

1. IvyPanda. "Incan Culture and Quechua Language Nowadays." September 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/incan-culture-and-quechua-language-nowadays/.


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IvyPanda. "Incan Culture and Quechua Language Nowadays." September 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/incan-culture-and-quechua-language-nowadays/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Incan Culture and Quechua Language Nowadays." September 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/incan-culture-and-quechua-language-nowadays/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Incan Culture and Quechua Language Nowadays'. 9 September.

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