Since 2011, Yakanal brings together multi-generational groups of indigenous people from the Americas to participate in immersive experiences in ancestral homelands to share rich cultures and traditional values. Youth participants become aware of and envision their role within the struggles for self-determination by indigenous peoples – experiencing, reflecting, acting, and celebrating. The goal of the program is to strengthen native languages, food sovereignty, and other aspects of cultural identity through intergenerational learning as well as direct exposure to ancestral knowledge systems.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Yakanal participants are a multi-cultural and multi-generational group of volunteers that came together through our shared commitment to indigenous cultural preservation and a deep connection to our lands and skies. We are indigenous youth and elders, allies, and program partners from the American Southwest, California, Mesoamerica, and South America, representing the following cultures: Pueblo, Yucatec Maya, Tsotsil Maya, Lacandon Maya, K’iché Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec, and Quechua.

“Everything from our corn to our traditional dress and the way we look; the architectural designs of ancient buildings have common features. The most palpable and important link that we have is our relationship with mother earth, our mother”.

— (Pueblo-Maya cultural exchange participant, 2012)