Abya Yala

Abya Yala is an indigenous name for the body of land that European cartographers re-mapped as “America.” The term translates as Tierra de Sangre Vital or Land of Vital Blood, and originates from the Guna Yala people, an autonomous Indigenous community on the borders of Panama and Colombia. Abya Yala retains political symbolism in some parts of the region. It signifies nation-making, ownership, definitions, historical timelines, and relationships with “land” that oppose European conceptions of the same. 


Some refer to “Abya Yala and the Caribbean” to call attention to how Latin America dismisses the Caribbean. The researchers for this project intend for Abya Yala to include the Caribbean because it is a term that goes far beyond borders. Abya Yala is a rejection of the concept and construction of América. It symbolizes survival and creation as a mode of resistance.