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A New Campaign Encourages Latin American Indigenous Communities to Create Their Own Media

Captura de pantalla del video hecho para la campaña "Por nuestros propios medios". Disponible en Vimeo.

Screenshot of the video for the campaign “Por nuestros propios medios” (“By our own media”). Available on Vimeo.

An educational campaign called “Komunikatuz Eraldatu, Peoples Owning Their Communication” (Komunikatuz Eraldatu, los pueblos dueños de su comunicaciónin Spanish) is counteracting the distorted image of indigenous peoples and communities that mainstream media regularly portray.

The campaign was launched by Mugarik Gabe, a non-governmental organization from the Basque Country of Spain that has worked in the areas of development and social equality since 1987. This NGO is present in a number of countries in Latin America, and one of their main goals is to advocate for indigenous communities’ rights.

According to Mugarik Gabe:

Con esta nueva campaña queremos mostrar cómo los pueblos indígenas de Latinoamérica han creado medios de comunicación para defender sus derechos y reforzar sus lenguas y su identidad como tales.

Y unir todo ello también con la labor que han hecho y hacen con el mismo objetivo actores del ámbito de la comunicación alternativa y los medios de comunicación locales de Euskal Herria.

With this new campaign we want to show how indigenous peoples of Latin America have created ways of communication to defend their rights and strengthen their language and identity.

This campaign also connects them with others who have done and are doing work with the same objective within alternative media and local media of Euskal Herria [the Basque Country].

“Komunikatuz Eraldatu, Peoples Owning Their Communication” is planning to hold a series of conferences in May 2016 on indigenous peoples, popular media and communication for social change, which will consist of lectures, discussions and screenings of documentaries, with the participation of journalists and communicators from Euskal Herria (as the Basque Country is called in the Basque language), Bolivia, Mexico and Argentina.

The campaign brochure contains more information in Spanish on this topic. More updates can be found on the Twitter and Facebook accounts of Mugarik Gabe.

The video below also presents an animated explanation of the campaign and its goals. It shows how mainstream media tends to portrait indigenous communities and the ways in which these representations can change with the creation of alternative media that tell their own stories:

At the end of the video, the narrator sums up why it is important for indigenous communities to have a say in how they are presented to the world:

Al construir nuestros propios medios de comunicación los pueblos indígenas somos protagonistas de nuestra historia, vamos tejiendo nuestra propia palabra, escapamos del olvido, celebramos la vida, celebramos un mundo, donde a pesar de las injusticias, predomina la esperanza.

By creating our own media, we, the indigenous peoples, are protagonists of our own history, we write our own words, we escape oblivion, we celebrate life and a world where, despite the injustices, hope prevails.

Our work building bridges across cultures, languages and perspectives is more urgent than ever before.

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