While Indigenous languages have become prominent in global political and educational discourses, limited attention has been given to Indigenous children’s everyday communication. Voices of Play is a study of multi-ethnic autonomous region on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua.
Corn Island is historically home to Afro-Caribbean Creole people, but increasing numbers of Miskitu people began moving there from the mainland during the Contra War, and many
Spanish-speaking mestizos from western Nicaragua have also settled there. Miskitu kids on Corn Island often gain some competence speaking Miskitu, Spanish, and Kriol English. As the
children of migrants and the first generation of their families to grow up with television, they develop creative forms of expression that combine languages and genres, shaping
intercultural senses of belonging.
Voices of Play is the first ethnography to focus on the interaction between music and language in children’s discourse. Minks skillfully weaves together Latin American, North
American, and European theories of culture and communication, creating a transdisciplinary dialogue that moves across intellectual geographies. Her analysis shows how music and language
involve a wide range of communicative resources that create new forms of belonging and enable dialogue across differences. Miskitu children’s voices reveal the intertwining of speech
and song, the emergence of “self” and “other,” and the centrality of aesthetics to social struggle.
Amanda Minks is an assistant professor of anthropology in the University of Oklahoma Honors College.
First Peoples books are part of a special publishing initiative among four scholarly presses, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. Books with the logo exemplify contemporary scholarship and research in Indigenous studies. The initiative supports this scholarship with unprecedented attention to the growing dialogue among scholars, communities, and publishers.