Centre for Indigenous Americas Studies
The Centre for Indigenous America Studies (CIAS) at Leiden University is designed to coordinate and promote the teaching and research of Indigenous languages, literatures, cultures and cultural heritage. Our aim is to contribute to an increased acknowledgement, recognition and understanding of Indigenous knowledge systems and the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas.
Themes of our work are found in the teaching and research within several disciplines at Leiden University, such as Linguistics, Heritage Studies, Archaeology etc. We encourage our students to actively participate and collaborate with Indigenous Peoples of the Americas through field visits and working with local and international agencies and NGOs. To this end, we offer classes on the languages and literatures of several indigenous peoples across Meso- and South America, such as the Quechua-speaking peoples in the Andes, the Amazonian Trio, and the Meso-American Maya among others. Specific collaborations and projects we have pertain to health and environmental issues; understandings of landscape and land rights; real-life challenges of climate change; intellectual property rights; social conflicts; intercultural exchange, indigenous media and education and the like.
The CIAS has as its main principle the circulation of knowledge between academic institutions, indigenous peoples and the general public and employs the following approaches:
- transdisciplinary and multivocal research with Indigenous peoples, communities and organizations,
- inclusion of Indigenous voices in the process of research design and implementation, AND
- consolidation of networks of conversation and collaboration among and between Indigenous and non-Indigenous experts.