The Spanish program explores diverse cultures through a series of indigenous films | Texas A&M University-San Antonio


The Spanish Program at Texas A&M University-San Antonio is hosting a series of films featuring the diverse Native American groups of North and South America.

Dr. Alexandra Rodriguez Sabogal, Spanish teacher and co-host of the event, hopes students will gain a better understanding of Indigenous communities through the Indigenous film series.

“Most of what we know about these communities has been shaped by Eurocentric views, Dr. Sabogal said in a January 27 interview via Zoom.

Mainstream news and movies cover Indigenous issues from an outside perspective, which often leads to misconceptions about these communities, Sabogal said.

María Mercedes Coroy plays in “Ixcanul”. Courtesy of Luis Armando Arteaga and Kino Lorber International.

The film series kicked off with “Embrace of the Serpent” on Jan. 27, Colombian director Ciro Guerra’s award-winning film, featuring indigenous actors authentically portraying the Amazon natives.

“Embrace of the Serpent” follows indigenous shaman Karamakate navigating interactions with non-native explorers in search of a rare medicinal plant in his home in the Colombian Amazon jungle.

The film, shot mostly in black and white, might have been more reminiscent of a classic American adventure film had it centered on non-native white explorers instead.

Sabogal said “Embrace of the Serpent” and subsequent films in the series deliberately focus on native protagonists.

While many mainstream films often portray Indigenous peoples as mere supporting characters, Sabogal said the Indigenous film series will “shift the lens” to explore these communities “from within.”

The Indigenous film series is currently screened on the last Thursday of each month through April.

The remaining films in the series include “Ixcanul” on February 24, “Altiplano” on March 31, and “Gente de Razón: People of the Missions” on April 28.

Due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, the film series has moved to an online streaming format until further notice.

For more information, visit Jagsync or contact Dr. Alexandra Rodriguez Sabogal at [email protected].

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