My name is Rachel but you can also call me Xinxane (sheen-shaw-nay). I'm an undergrad Spanish and linguistics student at the University of Minnesota. I am from Dallas and spend about half my year there. My mother's family descends from Vaqueiros from Navelgas.
I was a study abroad student planning to spend five months in Toledo, using weekends to travel Europe and to travel to Asturias and León, to create an independent research paper on the connections between the Vaqueiros de Alzada and our ancestral land. Unfortunately, fairly early into my travel and research, COVID-19 cancelled my paper and brought me home, but I guess this will make for an interesting historical account in the future.
Xinxane is the name of a braña in Valdés. Its Castilian name is Sinjanía. I just kind of liked the name.
I speak Spanish as well as some Paḷḷuezu and Ladino and a small amount of North Sámi.
My goal is to bring international awareness to the Vaqueiros and work to improve their living conditions and work to conserve their traditional way of life and culture and achieve official recognition. I intend to use my opportunities as a young Vaqueira in the diaspora to work with technology and younger generations to preserve Vaqueiro culture and to work in solidarity with other nomadic and indigenous peoples worldwide.
My research interests include the Vaqueiros de Alzada, nomadic pastoralist cultures and peoples, Sephardic culture, indigenous & nomadic land rights, ethnobotany, and other earth science and botany topics! I'm always interested in any research opportunities!