Acllyahuasi: The Women Who Saved a Culture
I’m finalizing my novel Acllyahuasi. It’s about the struggles of a young girl named Tara who is trying to get her civilization to be remembered correctly by the occupying Inka Empire. She sacrificed herself as a hostage to physically save her hometown, and now she’s sacrificing further to save their memory.
This book poses the question, what is the point of preserving the memory of a place? Tara is from Cañari, a place in southern Ecuador, what did her battle to preserve the truth of her homeland benefit them? In the modern world, how does fighting to ensure that the truth survives benefit us?
With the re-occurrence of fake news and misinformation spreading like fire it takes time to find the truth. It takes guts to speak it sometimes. It takes lots of work for it to be well represented in the world of “put a spin on everything.” In the Inka Empire, each ruler would create their own version of past events to glorify their own family. It made it very difficult for the conquistadors to discover their accurate history and who knows, did they? If they failed, it wasn’t for lack of trying. They spent years gathering stories and piecing together a history that was frayed. Following the short period of gathering the history, the Spaniards tried to delete the culture, but it was preserved by the women passing it to their children at bedtime and mealtime.
In Acllyahuasi, Tara has this battle with everyone from her mother to the people in the highest positions of government. She loses a lot of battles, she creates a lot of enemies, and at times she feels like it’s not worth it. Finally, she discovers she must keep fighting for the truth and the benefits of when she is able to speak it help her life move forward.