Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 4PM, Day 4) – Fact and Fiction: The New World
Today, we confronted the question of miscommunication. We first tried our hand at writing a story about a vacation we took without using any words or symbols. Students made the cognitive leap from a simplistic 1:1 word-to-picture ratio, and learned that they could represent whole complex ideas with pictograms, just like certain pre-Columbian societies. This showed that pre-Columbian communication was just as valid as European literacy. We next moved to linguistic miscommunication, where I read the students the 1513 “Requirement,” or document that told indigenous peoples (in Spanish) that they must surrender or be taken captive. We talked about how it was unfair to read this document to people unfamiliar with Spanish language and customs, and assume they could (or would) comply. Finally, we looked at cultural miscommunication with a specific and famous scene of Spanish conquest: the 1526 meeting between Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro and Inca leader Atahualpa. Many versions of the story exist written by people in the sixteenth-century. Students acted out 4 versions of the story, two by Spaniards (Francisco de Jerez and Francisco López de Gómara) and two Incas (Guaman Poma de Ayala and Titu Cusi Yupanqui). The differences between the story showed a valuable lesson in perspective, miscommunication, and the idea that history is written by the victors. We definitely have some budding actors and actresses in the group!