Northwestern Events Calendar


LACS | Coca Leaves/ Esx: Decolonizing the History of the Coca Plant through the Ancient Rites of the Nasa Indigenous People

When: Tuesday, May 14, 2024
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM CT

Where: Crowe Hall, 1-132, 1860 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: 0

Contact: Margaret Sagan   (847) 467-1131

Group: Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Category: Academic, Fine Arts, Social, Lectures & Meetings, Multicultural & Diversity, Global & Civic Engagement, Environment & Sustainability


Lunch will be served at this event.

Alexandra McNichols-Torroledo worked with the Wasak Kwewesx Nasa Indigenous School in the Colombian Andes, for four years. During this time, she photographed how indigenous children are educated in the rites of the coca plant, known as ESX in the Yuwe language. Her photography series explores the sacred nature of the coca leaf and its uses. For centuries, the Catholic church demonized the plant and encouraged the indigenous people to reject their ancient practices. With the invention of cocaine, the plant faced extermination under international laws. Colombia, her native country has suffered greatly due to the fifty year war over cocaine. Today, new policies are protecting coca and its traditional uses.

  She is a Colombian-American photographer.  Over time her focus has shifted from themes of immigration and human rights to global concerns for the environment. In 2011, she began documenting indigenous people in South and North America, affected by mega-projects that are imposed on their territories, changing their lives and the climate of our planet.

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