And the greatest of challenges we all face is how to care for the Earth so we may draw sustenance from it without compromising its capacity to sustain life. Collectively, the Voices of the Earth offer myriad responses to that far-reaching challenge. That collective wisdom is vital for the survival and well-being of each and every human society and of all other species with which we share this planet. There is a lot in that wisdom for everyone to learn — or re-learn.
That’s why Terralingua started the Voices of the Earth project: to support Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ efforts to maintain or recover their languages and cultural traditions — traditions that often reflect people’s historic presence on the land and their cultural and spiritual connections with it. Recording and revitalizing those oral traditions is central to their ability to forge their own destinies while still retaining their cultural roots and links to the land. It can also bolster their attempts to uphold cultural and land rights in the face of external pressures that might radically alter their natural environments and their ways of life.
Below you can explore the projects we’ve partnered on with some of the Voices of the Earth: the W̱SÁNEĆ and Tsilhqot’in First Nations in British Columbia, Canada; Swahili communities in Zanzibar, East Africa; and Xhosa youth in South Africa. We are sharing some of the outcomes of these projects on this website with our partners’ permission.
As an extension of this effort, our flagship publication Langscape Magazine offers a global space for the Voices of the Earth to be heard. In 2019 — the International Year of Indigenous Languages — we dedicated the magazine entirely to the voices of Indigenous youth from around the world.