What does Siwar Mayu mean?

“Siwar” and “Mayu” in the Quechua language (currently spoken by eight million people in the world) translate into hummingbird and river, respectively. This site is conceived of as a river of hummingbirds. ‘Siwar’ symbolizes the bearer of messages, the ancestors, the ones who cross borders, and is in-between, just as our project is, just as contemporary indigenous writers and artists are.

Why do we need a multilingual digital collaborative anthology platform?

After years of involvement in a variety of trans-indigenous projects (i.e anthologies, cultural exchanges, conferences) among artists and writers from various native nations of Abiayala,  Turtle Island (the Americas) and the Pacific, we want to contribute to the seminal role of translation in bridging indigenous and non-indigenous cultures. Through this collaborative site we fulfill a need for an open access website publication dedicated to native writers and scholars from the seven directions of Mother Earth, in which peoples from different countries and backgrounds can dialogue through art, poetry, short-stories, plays, testimony, oral history and essays.

How does it work?

  • We will publish one author and one artist per month.
  • There is no theme for the writers or the artists.
  • We will seek mainly unpublished translations.
  • Some of the authors will be established, while others will be new voices.
  • We will collaborate with professional and amateur translators in order to provide the best versions available.
  • We will also include a brief introduction to the monthly authors and artists, as well as related online sources.
  • The internet has been an ideal medium for indigenous artistic and activist voices, and we hope Siwar Mayu will further this process sparking transindigenous conversations among native writers and peoples as well the public at large.

Most native writers writing in their native tongues usually self-translate their work to languages such as English, Spanish or Portuguese. In Siwar Mayu, we will include the work in their native languages, and when possible translate from the original indigenous language, hoping to anchor their respective poetics and epistemology. We will also translate from their English, Spanish or Interlingua versions. Despite the colonial history of Spanish and English, and their epistemological violence in legal and education settings, these languages are in fact lingua-francas and are both political and creative tools which belong too to indigenous peoples in Abiayala, Turtle Island and the Pacific.

Parallel to the translation experience, we hope to reflect on the complexities of the translation process itself!


  • Yana Lema (pueblo Kichwa, Ecuador) 
  • Gloria Chacón, UC San Diego (pueblo Maya Ch’orti’ y campesino, El trifinio, Central America/USA)
  • Fredy Roncalla (pueblo Quechua, Perú/USA)
  • Sophie M. Lavoie, University of New Brunswick, Canada
  • Andrea Echeverría, Wake Forest University (Chile/USA)
  • Paul Worley, Western Carolina University (USA)
  • Rita Palacios, Conestoga College (Guatemala/Canadá)
  • Judith Santopietro (pueblo Nahuatl, Mexico)
  • Lorrie Jayne, UNC Asheville (USA)
  • Juan G. Sánchez Martinez, Lakehead University (Bakatá/Canada)

Media Assistants

  • 2023-2024: Jocelyn Montalbán, Lakehead University
  • 2022: Maria Gabriela Gelpi, UNC Asheville
  • 2020-2021: Anya Tucker, UNC Asheville
  • 2019-2020: Ivan Melchor, UNC Asheville
  • 2019: Melanie Walsh, UNC Asheville

If you want to collaborate, translate, or suggest authors/artists
Please contact us:

css.phpHosted by UNC Asheville and the Diversity Action Council