ICCS USA Ongoing Projects


Who are the Yezidis? - by Yezidis 

Research Publication

USA, Nebraska - 2016-2018

Members of the nonprofit organization, “Yezidis International” have been questioning what their priorities are, as the Yezidi community suffers at the hands of ISIS. Should the focus be on Yezidis human rights, spend the time empowering the community through education, find ways to bring women back from clutches of ISIS, or should it be to get the displaced Yezidis humanitarian aid and provide medical help to those falling ill? There are many immediate needs, but they believe that documenting what is happening, preserving their culture and religion, and helping to keep their beliefs alive is crucial.

Yezidis think that before their religion evolves into a few different sects, they need to have some discussions. Some slight differences in Yezidis beliefs are forming and it would be worthwhile to unearth the truth. The goal of this project is to conduct a research and examine the Yezidis beliefs,  as well as culture, rituals,  taboos, and holidays from a historical point of view. The finding will be a published book written by Yezidis, which is going to be  distributed at a low cost among the Yezidis speaking English in diaspora as well as in Iraq. Main places under consideration includes U.S.A, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Netherlands, and Iraq. 

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Strengthening of the Muisca-Chibcha Cultural Identity 


Boyacá, Tunja, Colombia - 2016

Historically, the Muisca-Chibcha has been one of the most important ethnic groups in Colombia, which still maintains its presence having elapsed 479 years since the Spanish came to America. Despite the general believe that the Muiscas have faded away, their last descendants see the need to assess and re-signify their living heritage to be shared in dialogues of knowledge, thus strengthening the ancestral memory of the local community of the Department of Boyacá (Muisca ancestral territory), who are subject to the hegemonic processes of globalization which tend to dissipate local identities.

These initiatives of cultural recovery started back in 1976, when indigenous Elders from the city of Chiquinquira began an indigenous movement in the center of the country now called "Nación Pueblo Muisca-Chibcha" (Muisca Chibcha First Nation).

This project aims to strengthen cultural ethnic identity and empower members and leaders of the indigenous community, as well as to share the ancestral knowledge with the local community (adults and youngsters).

A total of sixteen workshops will be delivered covering the following topics:

  • Knowledge of Indigenous Law and Governance
  • Ancestral Medicine
  • Ancestral Heritage
  • Muisca-Chibcha Dialect
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Yanakuna Organizational Strengthening

Community Assemblies

Cauca, Colombia - 2016

The Yanakuna indigenous peoples, descendants of the Incas and Quechua-Aymaras from South America, are located mostly in three departments of the Colombian Andean Massif in the southwest region of the country.

The Yanakuna people have been, along with the other two largest ethnic groups in the department of Cauca; Nasa and Misak, the tribes which today are recognized at a national level for their history of resistance for preserving their autonomy and ancestral knowledge.

One of the most recent fights for their rights has emerged from the initiative of the Nasa people, who from 2015, have proposed as part of the organizational strengthening of the Las Mercedes community, the recovery of the plan of life taught by their ancestors, and the formation of a Council of Spiritual Authorities which could replace the political structure of the "cabildo".

It is thanks to the experience of the Nasa people, that leaders from the Yanakuna community, intend to initiate a similar process in the indigenous community Papallaqta, and to gradually extend this initiative to other communities in the department of Cauca.

In order to start the process of awareness and exchange of experiences with the Nasa indigenous community, around the creation of the Councils of Spiritual Authorities, two community assemblies are proposed with leaders and members from 7 indigenous reservations.

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Research Institute

India, Arunachal Pradesh - 2009-Ongoing

The Research Institute of World’s Ancient Traditions Cultures and Heritage (RIWATCH) is a non-profit, non governmental, community based research organization demonstrating how cultural empowerment of ethnic communities is critical for sustainable development. 

The institute provides expertise and facilitation for research scholars and access to a living laboratory of ethnic value system. Active relationships are maintain with faculty of national and international repute, collaborations with international institutions like University of South Florida and above all elders of the community - the “wisdom keepers of traditional knowledge”. The institute’s Governing Body members are recognized experts in areas of education, social work, environmental science, traditional knowledge and international relations. 

RIWATCH, which is a project of the International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS USA), was founded in November 2009.