The traditional language of the Yukpa is not Spanish, it’s Yukpa. Their tribe, in the north eastern part of Colombia, also has very little experience with housing blocks and airplanes. The material used to teach their children how to count therefore must have always seem very foreign to them.
Jorge 4 jpaj kap. Awujpat 5 paj kanap. Otashe nt kojakj mayesha nupajkta?
Jorge takes four corncobs. I took five corncobs. How many corncobs did we take together?
(excerpt from the Yukpa mathbook)
To bring the mathematical material a little closer to their own reality, the Colombian Ministry of Education developed primary school math books in the Yukpa language, using materials like corn and arrows that are more familiar to them.The Ministry, with the help of the tribe’s elders and external anthropologists, also developed books in the Yukpa language, documenting the stories, sages and history of the tribe.It is the first time the Yukpa language is written. The tribe has communicated for thousands of years in their language, but never utilized a written form.The children, who during classes symbolically are protected by elders sitting in the back of the classroom with bows and arrows, are now taught to write down the stories about ancient warrior the elders have always passed on orally.Not only the children are now taught how to write their language. Elders and teachers are taught as well.