Stories from Quick Reads and Indigenous
Without medical professionals fluent in indigenous languages or without proper interpretation services in Mexican hospitals, there is a risk that patients will not be able to adequately describe what ails them, writes Yásnaya Aguilar in her regular blog column for EstePaís. She provides examples how the Mixe language allows her to more accurately describe her pain to a nurse or doctor that can speak the same language, and how a translation into Spanish can still be somewhat limiting. She writes,
En mixe por ejemplo tengo un conjunto de palabras distinto para nombrar el dolor físico: pëjkp, jäjp, pä’mp, we’tsp… Apenas hallo equivalentes para alguna en español. Las diferencias todavía son más grandes y hay momentos en los que sólo puedo describir un dolor en español o sólo alcanzo a nombrarlo en mixe. Hablar ambas lenguas me permite tener a mi servicio un inventario más nutrido de palabras para describir mi dolor, aunque en general, cuando algo me duele mucho, el mixe toma el control de mis pensamientos.
For example, in mixe I have a group of distinct words available to me to describe physical pain: pëjkp, jäjp, pä’mp, we’tsp. I'm barely able to find the equivalent words for these words in Spanish. The differences are very large and there are times when I can only describe the pain in Spanish and there are other times when I can only describe the pain in Mixe. Being able to speak both languages allows me to have at my disposal a richer inventory of words to describe my pain, although generally, when something is causing me a lot of pain, the Mixe language takes control of my thoughts.
The universal right to health care cannot be guaranteed when the majority of hospitals have no medical practitioners that speak indigenous languages and because interpretation can only go so far since they do not have the same knowledge of the human body. And she adds that this could potentially cause misdiagnoses and without these language services, “there is no way to build bridges of empathy and to effectively understand that your ‘it hurts’ could also be the same as mine.”
The National Gallery of Jamaica is in the midst of celebrating its 40th anniversary and the gallery's blog has been sharing information about its history and accomplishments:
When the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) opened its doors on November 14, 1974 it was the English-speaking Caribbean’s first national gallery, and forty years later it is the region’s oldest and largest national art museum. [...] Since 1974, the NGJ has held over one hundred and thirty exhibitions and established an encyclopaedic collection of Jamaican art. Through the process of amassing and exhibiting the art of Jamaica it has done more than preserve and display Jamaica’s artistic heritage. What the NGJ has truly excelled at is telling a story (‘the’ story, the NGJ has at times claimed) of Jamaican art, crafting the raw material of artists, artworks and anecdotes into a coherent narrative that resonates with how Jamaicans see and understand themselves in the world.
“One thing is that books satisfy users’ curiosity, and a very different one that is that it might represent the identity of the community them belong to”. Argentinian librarian Daniel Canosa questions the role and function of local libraries. On Infotecarios network he writes:
Las bibliotecas indígenas, [deberían] generar conocimiento desde la participación local y comunitaria, ofrecer un modo de entendimiento, que es a la vez una manera de construir identidad. El tema es si lo que ofrece la biblioteca representa lo que cada comunidad sabe y conoce, si lo que construye el bibliotecario con su comunidad permite una genuina afinidad con la memoria histórica del pueblo. No se tratan de ideas nuevas, pero es necesario avanzar interpelando las mismas.
Si las bibliotecas difunden la producción de la gente de su lugar de pertenencia, entonces no sólo las elites tendrán presencia en el mundo de la información.
Indigneous libraries [should] generate knowledge from local and community participation, provide a way of understanding, that in time is a way of building identity. The thing is if what libraries provide represent what each community knows, if what a librarian builds with their community allows a true affinity with people's historic memory. This is not about new ideas, but things should move forward questioning those ideas.
If libraries spread people's production from their own places, then not only the elites won't be then only ones in the world of information.
The author highlights the fact that burning libraries, as happened in the past, eliminates peoples’ memories and therefore their identity. He also highlights the works by Colombia Indigenous Peoples Basic Library, puts into question publications by Abya Yala Ecuadorian publishing house and presents an instance of “social inclusion” with Eloísa Cartonera Cooperative from Argentina.
The centuries old Jonbeel Mela, a community fair in the northeast Indian state of Assam, has a unique ritual. Around 10,000 indigenous people from tribes like the Karbi, Khasi, Tiwa, and Jayantia of the northeast come down from the hills to the Jonbeel wetlands with their produce or catch and interchange with the local people in a barter system. Usha Dewani at the India Water Portal reports that the annual three-day festival has been celebrated since the 15th century. Around 100,000 people visit the market each year.
The communities, characteristically living in the mountains or their fringes, have depended mostly on plants and other natural products from the forest to prevent or treat sickness. But environmental degradation and the onslaught of lowland mainstream cultures now threaten their healing traditions.
The Canadian hamlet of Arviat, Nunavut has become a hub for videomaking thanks to the work of its Film Society. This Inuit community has also been a launching pad for some of its youth to find opportunities elsewhere to practice their craft.
One of these videomakers is Jordan Konek, once a member of the Arviat Film Society, who is now living and working in Iaqluit, where he works as a video journalist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation North. In addition, he is one of the founders of his own video company Konek Productions, which also allows him to highlight Inuit culture and language.
His YouTube channel is a mix of daily happenings around his community. His channel also contains music videos that he produced for local artists, many of whom cover popular songs translated into the Inuktitut language, such as this version of John Lennon's “Imagine”. The video posted above produced by Konek provides a list of some of the ways that Inuit culture can be kept alive from his point of view.
[...] European-style racism — which not only mistreats and discriminates but also persecutes and, in the very worst cases, tries to exterminate others because of their ethnicity — has been the exception and not the rule in modern Latin America.
Krauze's opinion piece prompted blogger Julio Ricardo Varela to question the validity of his position in an article written for Latino Rebels:
At the beginning of the piece, Krauze starts with FIFA’s “Say No To Racism” campaign,”a message” that “was particularly directed toward the soccer stadiums of Europe, where there have been many instances of racial taunting and physical aggression by hostile fans against African and other black players.” Just a few sentences later, Krauze is quick to let us know that such racism doesn’t occur in the Americas: “the stadiums of Latin America have for the most part been free of this phenomenon, despite the fervent nationalism and fanaticism of the fans.” I am guessing that neither Krauze nor his Times editor did some actual fact-checking because in just five minutes, I was able to locate several examples of racism in Latin American stadiums.
After pointing out that so-called “European-style racism is what formed Latin America in the first place,” Varela concludes with these words:
When we as Latin Americans admit the truth and confront it head on, only then can real change occur. In the meantime, the literal whitewashing of Latin American history needs to be monitored and when it appears in mass media, we must all do our best to quickly call out this ignorant attitude. The only way to transform society is to ensure that we don’t allow certain opinions to become the standard. We can do better, and we will. One tweet at a time.
A protest coordinated by several Mauritanian civil society organizations and political parties was held on April 29, 2014 in Nouakchott. The protest was initiatied by members of Haratin tribe who demand more rights and the enforcement of existing laws. This protest marks the first anniversary of the Haratin Manifesto [fr]. The Adrar Info website published a photo report of the protest signs that were displayed during the march [fr] :
On April 29, thousands of Mauritanian responded to the march organized by the initiator of the “Manifesto for the political, economic and social rights of Haratin tribe.” The march began at the new YMCA in Nouakchott at 6 PM and ended near the Ibn Abbas mosque. Some protests signs were displayed by demonstrators who were also draped with national flags :
“The land belongs to those who work it”, “No to the ongoing exclusion..” “when will the impunity end for the perpetrators of slave trading ?” “We want quantitative and qualitative studies that evaluate slavery [in Mauritania]“