“Gxrl from Chayanta: for you, love will not be over,” a community movement piece that honors indigenous femmes who are the earth’s first and fiercest defense. An homage to Bolivia Manta’s “Chayantenita,” in remembrance of Berta Cáceres, for Boston Stands with Standing Rock Benefits Show, Elks Lodge, Cambridge, MA
Pampi, Concept, Choreographer, Performer
Neel Agrawal, frame drum + tabla
Mea J and Thandi F, movement
Tonight we call on Chayantenitx, “gxrl of Chayanta” our featured song is by Bolivia Manta, founded by the exiled Carlos and Julio Arguedas, to help preserve and promote the traditions of the Aymara and Quechua peoples. “When our exile and our loneliness are at their deepest, the music is there like a call that revives within us a world full of excitement and deep feelings.” =
The song’s plaintive lyrics cry,
“Look how up there in the sky the stars are shining.
For you, love is over.
For me it begins. gxrl of Chayanta. You say to me: ‘Come on, come here.’
But where are you taking me?
And if you took me with you, would you have enough for me to live on?”
The words “for you, love is over.” implies that Chayantenitx met with an untimely possibly unnatural death.
Tonight we dedicate this song to the indigenous and displaced femmes upon whose bodies the most despicable violence is meted. We must understand that the indigenous femme is not separate from the land and rivers that nourish them. Their body is the land and the rivers. Because of their sovereignty and self determinism, they face brutal state sanctioned violence – colonialism compounded with patriarchy. When the indigenous are attacked, the lands and rivers, the dignity of their people and oppressed people everywhere are attacked.
The late Berta Carceres of what is state sanctioned as La Esperanza, Honduras, related “In our worldviews, we are beings who come from the Earth, from the water and from corn. The Lenca people are ancestral guardians of the rivers, in turn protected by the spirits of young girls, who teach us that giving our lives in various ways for the protection of the rivers is giving our lives for the well-being of humanity and of this planet.”
This song too embodies the complexity of identity: Patriarchy seeps even into doomed love songs. the lyrics “would you have enough for me to live on?” still places the onus on the indigenous femme to feed the body mind and soul of their masculine companions. neither on earth nor even having transitioned, can they rest in peace
Tonight we call on our foremothers. We remember their invisible labor continues to give us enough to live on.
Finally, before rejoicing in the multiculturalism of my comrades, I want to own my settler privileges
Tonight I dance acknowledging that I am able to be here because im a casted hindu womxn rooted in 4 millenia of horrific and continued brahmanical tyranny against dalit and adivasi people – the indigenous people – of what is state sanctioned as india and the south asian diaspora.
For those of us who are settlers,
Let us start believing this land and its rivers are sovereign
In so doing, we will begin to know our part in restoring indigenous stewardship
Tonight we rally:
Dearest Gxrl of Chayanta, for you, love will not be over!
Dearest Berta, for you, love will not be over!
Dearest Indigenous Gxrls Everywhere, your love will carry on!