It is common for Indigenous peoples to reflect about life and to comprehend the role that their community has in it. It is through songs, tales and stories, knitting, crafts, legends, dances, and rituals that the new members get to know about the history of the community, so they can think about it and understand their reality.
All these activities, as well as the assemblies, the tequios,27 the mingas,28 are the processes on which the community builds, remembers and updates its life plan.
“From our perspective, we build communication from our own ways. There are many sorts of ways of communicating, such as knitting - that is communication - the mingas- that is communication - and through many other of our communication experiences29.”
Therefore, the access center is a new instrument for communicating such a life plan and for helping these ways of communicating to achieve their objective. Thus, the decision to start a communication project, in this case a communication center in a school, cannot be unconnected from the life plan of the community, since it is within this plan that the project justifies its existence and finds its objectives.
“In order to defend our Life Plans, we have gone from oral tradition to communication media, not forgetting our principles as peoples. We take advantage of the new communication technologies for making ourselves visible, empowering our own communication means. This strategy comes from the need for noticing and communicating the importance of our culture and, at the same time, condemning in all manners the abuses committed against the Indigenous Peoples of Cauca.”
Gathering in an assembly, a minga or any community event is an essential step that cannot be omitted in the process of determining why to create an access center and what role it will play in the community.
27 Translator’s Note: A tequio is an organized way of working in which the members of the community must contribute with materials or manpower in order to build a communal building.
28 Translator’s Note: A minga is a traditional form of communal or social work with social objectives, which can also be performed for the benefit of one person or family, and in which there is always a benefit for the participants. It is mainly practiced in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile.
29 Diagnostico de Emisoras y/o Radios Indígenas. Ministry of Communications of Colombia. 2009. pp 44.