Ruins of Inca temples and terraces on Huayna Picchu, Peru
Today is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, an observance created by the United Nations to draw attention to the distinct cultures of indigenous peoples and to support measures that protect their rights. This year’s theme is indigenous peoples’ migration and movement, highlighting questions of indigenous identity and rights, particularly as people migrate within and between countries.
Here at Huayna Picchu in Peru, we can see remnants of an indigenous Inca temple atop the mountain. When Spanish conquistadors invaded the Inca Empire in the 16th century, many of the Incans who survived the conquest were forcibly assimilated into the Spanish colonial labor system, and most aspects of Inca culture were systematically destroyed. Through a modern view, we recognize how much was lost by the conquest, not just in lives of those who died, but in the culture and knowledge that is now lost to time.
Myakka River State Park, Florida