The Meaning Behind Ayllu

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The Meaning Behind Ayllu

Writing my thesis not only taught me a lot but also inspired me greatly. And one word that has stuck with me in particular is…ayllu

Ayllu is an indigenous word, more specifically a Quechuan and Aymaran word, which are both languages spoken by indigenous peoples of the Andes. It is a term that dates back prior to the Inca conquest and refers to a traditional form of community or a network of families in the Andes. This term continues to exist and be used till this very day within these communities.

Ayllus have traditionally acted as forms of local government and largely referred to extended families and kin groups within a territory. However, the main factor was that each ayllu was self-sustaining as all members had a responsibility to one another, whether this was in terms of education, land, food or trade.

When I decided to start my own small sustainable business all I could think of was how this is a community in itself.  And if I’ve learnt anything from both my studies and work it is that we all have our own part and responsibility in addressing climate change.

There Is No Future Without Indigenous Peoples

There are many different indigenous communties across the Andes but at the core of Andean cosmology is Pachamama (Mother Earth) and this extends to indigenous peoples and cultures from across the world.

While they may only represent 5% of the world’s total population, we are increasingly looking towards indigenous communities from around the world.  Their use of language, imagery, techniques, knowledge and entire culture is grounded on natural and sustainable beliefs. 

They protect and preserve 80% of the world’s biodiversity, and have been our planet’s guardians since the very beginning!