Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Stories from and

Peruvian Ministry of Education Makes 24 Indigenous Alphabets Official

Alumnos nivel inicial. Comunidad asháninka de Pamaquiari. Foto en Flicker del usuario  Global Humanitaria (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Kindergarten students. Ashaninka community in Pamaquiari. Photo on Flickr by user Global Humanitaria (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

The alphabets of 24 indigenous languages were made official in Peru as a result of joint efforts by the Ministry of Education and numerous indigenous communities. The documents were adopted by consensus and will be used to help preserve and improve the use of these languages, both in their written and spoken forms.

De ese modo, los 24 alfabetos deberán ser usados por las entidades públicas cuando tengan que emitir información escrita dirigida a esos grupos étnicos, en concordancia con lo dispuesto también por la Ley 29735 que regula el uso, preservación, desarrollo, recuperación, fomento y difusión de las lenguas originarias del Perú.
[…]
De esa manera, se respeta el derecho de los niños y adolescentes a recibir educación en su lengua materna. Está comprobado que así aprenden mejor porque se sienten más motivados y porque se respeta su identidad cultural, fortaleciéndose su autoestima.

Thus, these 24 alphabets should be used by public entities every time they have to issue written information addressed to these ethnic groups, as it is established by the Law 29735, which regulates the use, preservation, development, recovery, foster and spread of the indigenous languages of Peru.
[…]
In this way, the right of children and teenagers to be educated in their own native language is respected. It's been proven that this is the way they can learn better, as they feel more motivated, their cultural identity is respected, and their self-esteem becomes stronger.

As usual, Twitter echoed the news:

Ministry of Education makes official the alphabets of 24 indigenous languages, which will be used by all public entities.

Perú reconoce 24 alfabetos nativos.

Whooping Cough Epidemic Looms Over Nanti Children in Peru

Niños nanti. Imagen en Flickr del usuario  Lemurian Grove (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Nanti children. Image on Flickr by user
Lemurian Grove (CC BY-NC 2.0).

The Nantis is one of the semi-nomadic communities that live in Peru. A part of them live in the townships in the upper Camisea river and the central area of the Timpía river. There are isolated families that live scattered in the upper Timpía river and the northern area of the National Sanctuary Megantoni in Cusco in southeastern Peru.

The Nantis are one of the two subgroups of the Matsigenka or Machiguenga people. Nanti is a name that refers to a number of families that are part of this people who call themselves Matsigenka.

In late April, a delegation from the Peruvian Ministry of Education that arrived to the area confirmed that over ten children had passed away due to whooping cough, a highly contagious disease of the airways caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Bordetella pertussis. They also confirmed there were more children infected.

Other outlets mentioned four deceased children. The website Servindi reported:

Los funcionarios del Minedu (Ministerio de Educación) que llegaron hasta el lugar con el fin de realizar un diagnóstico socioeducativo y sociolingüístico […] lo que encontraron fueron aulas con pocos alumnos y una epidemia en su grado máximo.
Estos llegaron a señalar que inclusive durante su estadía, en la comunidad de Montetoni, fallecieron dos niños más, uno llamado Isaías de 4 años y un bebe de 9 meses.

The officials of the Ministry of Education went there in order to carry out an educational and socio-linguistic diagnosis […] found out classrooms with few students and an epidemic at its highest level.
The officials noted that even while they were, in the Montetoni community, two more children died, four-year old Isaías and a nine-month old baby.

Twitter echoed the news:

Peru: Nanti indigenous children die due to whooping cough epidemic, in a reservation next to Upper Purús and Manu.

Confirmed, four children from the Nanti community have died in Cusco.

Peru: “Disease” kills four Nanti indigenous children, community in stage of first contact.

Indigenous Activists Threatened and Attacked in El Cauca, Colombia

Several indigenous communities in Colombia continue to be victims of human rights violations and threats by paramilitary groups. Moreover, activists also report being attacked by public security forces and ESMAD, Colombia's mobile anti-riot squad, as exposed by Ama Pachamama in a Facebook post from March 11, 2015:

[…] A la fecha, se reportan 57 indígenas heridos, producto de agresiones directas de la Fuerza Pública; nueve heridos por artefactos no convencionales utilizados por el ESMAD; varios por arma de fuego disparada de manera directa.

La situación en la zona es denunciada como crítica, donde se informa la desaparición y posterior asesinato de dos comuneros a mediados de febrero, y que se relaciona con el actual y “continuo patrullaje de hombres armados, presuntos paramilitares en las Haciendas La Emperatriz y el Municipio de Caloto”. Y se agrava por los actos de estigmatización del alcalde de Corinto, Oscar Quintero, quien califica de manera permanente de “terroristas” a las comunidades, y por las amenazas a la vida que se dan a través de “la circulación de panfletos emitidos por grupos paramilitares – Rastrojos y Águilas Negras – anunciando limpieza social y amenazando de manera directa a organizaciones y dirigentes. Quienes tildan a la comunidad y sus dirigentes de ‘Roba tierras’.”

To date, 57 indigenous protesters have been reported injured as a result of direct attacks by security forces; nine wounded by riot police using unconventional devices; several others deliberately shot at. The situation in the area is said to be critical. In mid-February, two villagers disappeared and were later murdered—all connected to the current “continuous patrols by armed men, presumed paramilitary agents in Haciendas La Imperatriz and the town of Caloto.” And this is aggravated by acts of intimidation against the mayor of Corinto, Oscar Quintero, who has called the actions a form of permanent ‘terrorism’  as well as by the threats to the lives of residents through the “circulation of flyers put out by paramilitary groups—the Rastrojos and Aguilas Negras—warning of social cleansing and directly threatening organizations and their leaders. Who branded the community and its leaders ‘land-grabbers.'” 

The Internet gave voice to the fear engendered by the Colombian paramilitary groups knowns as Águilas Negras and Rastrojos, who disseminate threatening leaflets designed to intimidate the social activists of the Cauca region. As a result, many users are condemning their actions and denouncing the situation on Twitter:

New massive threats by Aguilas Negras and Rastrojos in Bta and Cauca

Colombian paramilitary groups Rastrojos and Aguilas Negras are threatening the indigenous people fighting for land in northern Cauca with “social cleansing.” 

Paramilitary groups (Rastrojos and Aguilas Negras) are circulating flyers that directly threaten INDIGENOUS protesters.

Águilas Negras and Rastrojos, among the illegal organizations that most threaten activists in Colombia

For first time Aguilas Negras and Rastrojos sign joint death threat against indigenous leaders in Cauca

Indigenous Tweets Highlight International Mother Language Day in Australia

Wamut,aka @kriolkantri on Twitter, and blogger of ten years, shared indigenous tweets on Storify: “February 21 is International Mother Language Day and this year, Australians showed off Aboriginal and Islander languages in a spectacular way and highlighted the amazing-yet-fragile linguistic diversity found across the continent”.

For more details: Tweet in Your #Motherlanguage to Celebrate Linguistic Diversity Online

Documenting the Struggles of Papuans in Indonesia

Papuan Voices is a video advocacy initiative that highlights the struggles of the people of West Papua, a province of Indonesia. West Papua has been struggling to be an independent state although this conflict from Indonesia is not widely reported in the media.

papuan_voices

Peru Sets Up First Bilingual Spanish-Awajun Civil Registrar

Delegación de la comunidad awajún en visita al Congreso Peruano. Foto en Flickr con licencia (CC BY 2.0).

Delegation of the Awajun community during a visit to the Peruvian Congress. Image taken from Flickr and published under license (CC BY 2.0).

May 21 marks the National Day of Cultural and Linguistic Diverisity, and to commemorate the occasion, the Peruvian National Registrar of Identification and Civil Status (Reniec) launched the Awajun-Spanish bilingual civil registrar:

Las actas generadas de esta manera tendrán el mismo valor oficial que las actas tradicionales en castellano, y sus copias certificadas podrán obtenerse en cualquier agencia o Plataforma Virtual Multiservicios (PVM) del Reniec.

The documents thus generated will have the same official validity as the documents in Spanish, and the authenticated copies will be available in any agency or at the Virtual Multiservices Platform of Reniec.

The Awajún are an ethnic group from the Peruvian Amazon region. Their language has 70,000 Peruvian speakers in the departments of Amazonas, Cajamarca, Loreto and San Martín.

On Twitter, users shared remarks and pictures of this new registrar:

RENIEC set up the online first bilingual civil registrar (Spanish – Awajun) in America.

I have Awajun lessons. I had forgotten.

New Awajun bilingual civil registrar has something new: its registers, besides being manual, will be…

Peruvian Web Users Take the #LanguageChallenge

International Mother Language Day was celebrated on February 21, as a commemoration of the right every nation has to keep its own language, a key element of cultural identification. In Peru, there are 47 native languages, spoken by about 4 million people.

To mark the occasion, the Office of Indigenous Language of the Vice Ministry of Interculturality of the Ministry of Culture invited Peruvians to participate in the #LanguageChallenge:

It's very easy to participate in the #LanguageChallenge!!We show you how.

The blog La Mula reported what the second edition of the Challenge of Languages was about:

Este sábado 21 de febrero se celebra el Día Internacional de la Lengua Materna y la Dirección de Lenguas Indígenas del Viceministerio de Interculturalidad ha lanzado la campaña Reto de las Lenguas (#RetoDeLasLenguas). En realidad, es un desafío creado el año pasado en las redes sociales de diversos países. Quien lo acepta debe grabar un video en una lengua indígena y retar a otra persona a que haga lo mismo. A la fecha han participado hablantes de lenguas indígenas norteamericanas y europeas, pero aún es poca la participación de lenguas sudamericanas.

On Saturday, February 21, we celebrate International Mother Language Day and the Office of Indigenous Language of the Vice Ministry of Interculturality [of the Ministry of Culture] has launched the campaign the Language Challenge. It's really a challenge created last year on social networks from various countries. If you accept it, you have to record a video in an indigenous language and challenge another person to do the same thing. Until now, indigenous speakers from many North American and European communities have taken part, but we still have a small participation of South American languages.

On Twitter, various users rose to the challenge, such as Quechua speakers Qorich'aska Qespi Puma and Jorge Alejandro Vargas:

Excellent video from #Retodelaslenguas by Qorich'aska Qespi Puma and Jorge Alejandro Vargas. Now, let's hope that…

This video shows Culina, spoken in Peru and Brazil Amazon regions:

Another Language Challenge from Peru! The so-sexy Nehemías Pino speaking Culina! We have 47 languages!

There is even a video with sign language:

Message in Peruvian sign language for the Language Challenge, I challenge linguistic models from C. Beethoven.

Another video from Cusco:

A video from abroad by a speaker and academic of Shawi, an Amazonian language:

To follow the challenge, which is still going on, follow the hashtag #Retodelaslenguas on Twitter.

Indigenous People, Afro-Colombians and Peasants Unite Against Illegal Mining in River Ovejas, Colombia

March in defense of the River Ovejas, photography by Natalio Pinto, authorized use

March in defense of the River Ovejas, photography by Natalio Pinto, authorized use

Despite threats, indigenous people from the Laguna Siberia, members from five different areas within the ancestral territory of Sat Tama Kiwe de Caldono, Afro-descendents from the La Toma Community Council and resident campesinos in the surrounding areas joined together to protest against illegal mining in the area of Río Ovejas in the north of Cauca. The demonstration began on Friday, 13 February and lasted for three days.

Natalio Pinto, one of the participants, told Global Voices that participation was something of a stress test:

El recorrido se hizo al borde del río, abriendo trocha y cruzando las montañas, fueron 3 días de jornada, casi 30 horas.

The route followed the river, opening trails and crossing the mountains. It lasted three full days, nearly 30 hours.

With regards to the protest's goals, she added:

El tercer día del encuentro se dio una asamblea en la cual participaron los indígenas de La Laguna Siberia, Territorio ancestral Sa’th Tama Kiwe, el Consejo Comunitario Afro La Toma, así como campesinos que viven en zonas cercanas y representantes de otros consejos comunitarios afros y cabildos indígenas. La idea es formar un frente común en defensa del territorio y en contra de la minería ilegal y multinacional que amenaza el río Ovejas. La jornada sirvió también para solidarizarse con las compañeras que participaron en “la marcha de los turbantes” en noviembre/diciembre pasado. La marcha de los turbantes llevó a mujeres del Consejo Comunitario Afro La Toma caminando desde el Cauca hasta Bogotá para pedirle al Estado una respuesta efectiva contra la minería ilegal en el río Ovejas. A raíz de esto amenazaron a varias lideresas de la comunidad, la cuales tuvieron que salir desplazadas.

On the third day of the protest, there was a meeting in which indigenous people from the Laguna Siberia participated, alongside those from the ancestral territory of Sa’th Tama Kiwe, the Afro-Colombian Community Council from La Toma and campesinos that live in nearby areas as well as representatives from other Afro-Colombian community councils and other indigenous councils. The idea is to form a common front in defense of the land and against illegal and multinational mining that threatens the River Ovejas. The event also served to show solidarity with female colleagues that participated in the ‘march of the turbans’ in November/December last year. The march of the turbans involved women from the Afro-Colombian Community Council in La Toma walking from Cauca to Bogota in order to request an effective response from the State regarding illegal mining in River Ovejas. As a result of this, various female leaders were threatened and furthermore had to leave displaced.

Images have circulated on Twitter:

Indigenous community from Caldono protest against illegal mining in favor of the River Ovejas.

In other areas support of the fight against mining was also heard:

I've just left the protest in the north of Cauca; I learned a lot about the River Ovejas. Now I shout and I will shout even louder: No to mega mining!

Twitter users tweeted in solidarity:

‘UNITY indigenous/campesinos/Afro-Colombians!!’ ‘Protest in defense of the River Ovejas territory because mining is destroying what is ours’

Argentina Creates Registry of Interpreters of Indigenous Languages

Enia Pilagá de la provincia de Formosa - Imagen de Laura Schneider

Pilagá Indigenous from Formosa Province in Argentina – Image: Laura Schneider

Following the case of Reina Maraz, a Bolivian Quechua who was detained in Argentina for three years without knowing why, the Court of Buenos Aires province has approved the Registry of Translators for Indigenous Languages.   

According to research from the Instituto Nacional de Asuntos Indígenas (National Institute of Indigenous Affairs), during 2004-2005 it recognized the existence of 38 native people communities based on a Complementary Poll of Indigenous Communities from Argentina:

Los pueblos con mayor población a nivel nacional en orden descendente son: el pueblo Mapuche con 113.680, el pueblo Kolla con 70.505 y el pueblo Toba con 69.452 habitantes. En cuanto a los de menor población, se encuentran los pueblos Quechua con 561, los Chulupí con 553, los Sanavirón con 528, los Tapiete con 484 y por último, el pueblo Maimará con 178 habitantes.

The most populous communities nationwide in descending order are: Mapuche with 113,680, Kolla with 70,505 and Tobas with 69,452 inhabitants. As for the smaller population, Quechua are 561, the Chulupí 553, the Sanavirón 528, the Tapiete with 484 and finally the Maimará with 178 inhabitants

Similar registers already exist in Peru, with its Registry of Interpreters of Indigenous and Native Languages, and Bolivia, whose General Law of Linguistic Rights and Policies outlines its main objectives as:

1. Reconocer, proteger, promover, difundir, desarrollar y regular los derechos lingüísticos individuales y colectivos de los habitantes del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia.

2. Generar políticas públicas y obligaciones institucionales para su implementación, en el marco de la Constitución Política del Estado, convenios internacionales y disposiciones legales en vigencia.

3. Recuperar, vitalizar, revitalizar y desarrollar los idiomas oficiales en riesgo de extinción, estableciendo acciones para su uso en todas las instancias del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia.

1. To recognize, protect, promote, disseminate, develop and regulate individual and collective linguistic rights of the citizens of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.2. Generate public policies and institutional requirements for implementation, under the State Constitution, international conventions and legal provisions in force.3. Recover, vitalize, revitalize and develop the official languages at risk of extinction, setting actions for use in all instances of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

COP20: Responsibilities of Capitalism On Climate Change

The 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP20/CMP10) was held in Lima between December 1 to 12, and was chaired by the host country, Peru. During the conference, Bolivian president Evo Morales, emphatically appealed to consider climate change as a direct consequence of capitalist system and urged industrialized countries to accept the consequences of their actions:

Evo Morales urges to listen to indigenous people and to fight against capitalism during COP20.

Damián Profeta sums up the ten main points of Morales’ speech, and he highlisghts:

- ‘Hay que crear un Tribunal Internacional de Justicia Climática’ [encargada de] ‘juzgar a países que no cumplen sus compromisos y los tratados internacionales y a los que hacen mucho daño al ambiente’ […]
– ‘Que el sistema capitalista asuma su responsabilidad en el cambio climático’ […]
– ‘En la lucha contra el Cambio Climático los países del Norte nos han llevado a un terreno infecundo’ […]
– ‘El medio ambiente debe ser administrado comunitariamente porque la naturaleza misma es comunitaria’

- An International Court of Climate Justice [in charge of] judging countries that don't fulfil their obligations and international treaties and those who harm environment a lot must be implemented […]
– The capitalist systema should take responsibility on climate change […].
– In the fight against climate change, the Northern countries have taken us to a sterile ground […]
– Environment must be managed communally, as nature itself is communal

Some Twitter users answered reminding him his actions about the construction of a highway along the Isiboro Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS):

Evo proposes community property to save the planet? OK, let's stop the highway across TIPNIS and individual property by coca growers.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site