Shortlist; I am, Still by Johis Alarcón
This is a daily life story that explores the world of a young generation of indigenous people who find themselves empowered by their culture without the fear of colonialism. These are young people who have decided to stay in their land, with their families, and develop a lifestyle that combines modernity and ancestral knowledge, rejecting ‘mestizaje’ (interbreeding) with the strength of their identity. In Ecuador, around 7% of the population is indigenous. During the last century, racism and discrimination played a lead role in a model of life where inequality forced many to migrate to the city, abandoning their territory and culture. Globalisation devalued indigenous identity but at the same time fuelled an unpredictable cultural resistance within the indigenous youth. This generation has decided not to leave. They stay in their communities, and lead the defence of the land and culture, creating another way of living and being. The World Health Organization has recommended looking to indigenous and Afro-descendent peoples as natural allies in the fight against the global health emergency. The worldview and ancestral knowledge about health are immediate and invaluable resources, and give clues on how to build a post Covid-19 world. When I started this story, my childhood memories came back to me: the mountains; the family meals; and those cold mornings with the sound of water. My memories become more and more blurred, but, in this community, the young people will not let these experiences become a thing of the past.