Campus News - February 11, 2002

Ortiz Center hosts Fulbright scholar
Ecuadorian teaches indigenous culture courses

By Michael Padilla

Yolanda TeranTeaching about the indigenous people and the culture of Ecuador is Yolanda Teran’s primary goal as 2001-2002 Fulbright Scholar at the UNM Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies.

Teran, of Kichwa nationality from Ecuador, is based at the Department of Anthropology and Maxwell Museum of Anthropology through July 2002.

“My focus is on indigenous peoples, poor people, women and children,” Teran said. “My main goal is to help them learn about health, nutrition, education, human rights and production.”

She will give a public lecture at UNM this spring and teach two classes about Indigenous Ecuadorian cultures through the Native American Studies Department during the spring and summer semesters. She says she is available to meet with students and faculty campus wide.

“I have an open mind, open eye and open heart,” she said.

Teran said she embraces every opportunity to learn about other cultures and will visit pueblos and Indian communities in New Mexico. She said she will also be available to the indigenous people of New Mexico. “It’s important to learn from others,” she said. “Having an open dialogue with all people is one way to share and to see what kind of problems we have.”

This is Teran’s second Fulbright Scholar appointment. From 2000-2001, after participating in a national contest, she served at Sisseton Wahpeton Community College in Old Agency, South Dakota. She developed a cultural awareness program with and for Dakota people and taught “Growing Up Indian” and “Contemporary Issues for Indian Life.”

Teran said she is very fortunate to have received a solid education. “I have worked hard and I do my best,” she said, “Receiving my degrees has opened many doors for me and it hasn’t been easy.

She said that one of her most memorable accomplishments was winning a gold medal as the best primary school student in Ecuador and being the national flag carrier at the college.

Her professional positions have included National Coordinator of Education and Culture with the National Council of Indigenous Women from Ecuador, CONMIE; National Secretary of Indigenous Affairs of Ecuador in Quito, teacher of Andean Museology at the Technological University of Ecuador in Quito and special advisor at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York.

Teran has received numerous awards including scholarships from various universities. She holds a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester, England and a Licentia in Museology from the University of Rio de Janeiro, “UNI-RIO,” Brazil.

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