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Indigenous Architecture across Abya Yala (Latin America): Home

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Ricker Library of Architecture & Art
208 Architecture Building
608 East Lorado Taft Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
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Subjects: Art & Architecture

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Materials accessed in this guide are provided for personal and/or scholarly use.  Users are responsible for obtaining any copyright permissions that may be required for their own further uses of that material.  For more information about fair use please refer to the College Art Association Code of Best Practices in Fair Use in the Visual Arts.

Land Acknowledgment

We would like to begin our guide by recognizing and acknowledging that we, at the University of Illinois Libraries, are on the lands of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Piankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascoutin, Odawa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations. These lands were the traditional territory of these Native Nations prior to their forced removal; these lands continue to carry the stories of these Nations and their struggles for survival and identity.

As a land-grant institution, the University of Illinois has a particular responsibility to acknowledge the peoples of these lands, as well as the histories of dispossession that have allowed for the growth of this institution for the past 150 years. We are also obligated to reflect on and actively address these histories and the role that this university has played in shaping them. This acknowledgement and the centering of Native peoples is but a start as we move forward for the next 150 years.

As you begin your research, do note that all research, teaching, display, imaging, and circulation of University of Illinois NAGPRA materials and collections without tribal permission is prohibited. Find more detailed information in the NAGPRA procedures.

About This Guide


This guide focuses on Indigenous Architecture across Abya Yala (Latin America), to supplement the Spring 2022 NOMAS UIUC Symposium and its theme, Latine Arts and Architecture. 

We use the name Abya Yala to refer to the region as it comes from the Guna language, meaning "land in its full maturity." It is one of the oldest names for the region known to date and has been preferred by some Indigenous communities, leaders and activists over imposed colonial names. 



General Resources 

This page provides general resources about Indigenous Studies, Indigenous Architecture, as well as resources from and about the featured speakers at the Spring 2022 NOMAS UIUC Symposium. 

Indigenous Groups in Latin America 

This section provides resources about some Indigenous communities in Latin American, including Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, and various areas in Central America. These resources focus both on the architectural practices of these communities, and on the current issues that these communities are facing to serve as research entry points. Additionally, the pages in this section provide tips for strategic searches for materials relating to these sovereign groups. We have divided the pages by the more commonly known national names of the lands where the specified Indigenous communities live to further resource discovery. 


This guide was created by Livia Pereira, NOMAS Research Assistant 2021-2022; and Ricker Library Graduate Assistants Xochitl M. Quiroz and Tacia J. Díaz Fonseca. 

National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS)

Spring Symposium 2022

The Spring 2022 NOMAS UIUC Symposium focuses on Latine Arts and Architecture. The distinguished speakers will share their experiences as Latine architects and creatives both in Latin America and here in the United States. A special gallery will also feature current Latine student work to honor the theme of elevating Latine voices. 

An integral part of Latine art and architecture is rooted in the rich and diverse cultures throughout Latin America. Though the general narrative is one of antiquity relating to Indigenous culture and built traditions, this guide aims to illustrate that this is far from the case: Indigenous and Latine arts and architectures are not mutually exclusive, and Indigenous people and their culture are still present. 



Established in 1978 by former student and professor Ernest Clay, NOMAS is a student-led organization dedicated to fostering communications and fellowships among students and professionals, and empowering minority students across the country with a pipeline to the profession and a platform to explore their own interests. In partnership with the Ricker Library of Architecture and Art, NOMAS seeks to expand and diversify the library’s resources to include marginalized cultures, regions, designers, thinkers, and more, as well as to begin incorporating these materials into the School of Architecture’s academic curriculum.