Monday, November 17, 2008

Notes 11/17/2008 (Important)

-The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE)
-Since its formation in 1986, CONAIE has led the indigenous peoples of Ecuador from relative isolation to a position at center stage of Ecuadorian society. CONAIE is the representative body that guarantees indigenous people the political voice that has too long been denied them, and that expresses their needs and goals within a rapidly changing world.
-CONAIE is an autonomous indigenous organization, independent of political parties, or any state, foreign or religious institution.
-CONAIE is part of the historic struggle for the rights of indigenous peoples and to build a plurinational state.
-Indigenous nationalities are peoples with common histories, our own languages, governed by our own laws.
-CONAIE works primarily to strengthen indigenous organizations while we support specific community demands such as territory or water rights, and challenges government policies that threaten indigenous peoples.
-Through CONAIE the indigenous people of Ecuador have demonstrated that we are willing to defend our identity. With dignity, we have peacefully risen up by the thousands to demand a we are heard.
CONAIE adopted a programme with these 16 demands:
-A public declaration that Ecuador is a plurinational country (to be ratified by the constitution)
-The government must grant lands and titles to lands to the nationalities
-Solutions to water and irrigation needs
-Absolution of indigenous debts to FODERUMA and the National Development Bank
-Freezing of consumer prices
-Conclusion of priority projects in Indian communities
-Nonpayment of rural land taxes
-Expulsion of the Summer Institute of Linguistics. The SIL is a U.S.-based, worldwide Evangelical Christian non-profit organization, whose main purpose is to study, develop and document lesser-known languages, in order to expand linguistic knowledge, promote literacy and aid minority language development.
-Free commercial handicraft activities
-CONAIE protection of archaeological sites
-Officialization of Indian medicine
-Cancellation of government decree that created parallel land-reform granting bodies
-The government should immediately grant funds to the nationalities
-The government should grant funds for bilingual education
-Respect for the rights of the child
-The fixing of fair prices for products

Other Indigenous Movements in Ecuador, segun wiki.
-Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadoran Amazon (CONFENIAE)
-Confederation of Peoples of Kichua National of Ecuador (ECUARUNARI)
-National Confederation of Campesino, Indigenous, and Black Organizations (FENOCIN)
-Ecuadorian Federation of Evangelical Indigenous (FEINE)
-Scientific Institute of Indigenous Cultures

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Brian Barker said...

I believe that the promulgation of English as the world's “lingua franca” is impractical and linguistically undemocratic. I say this as a native English speaker.

Impractical because communication should be for all and not only for an educational or political elite. That is the position of English at the moment.

Undemocratic because minority languages are under attack worldwide due to the encroachment of majority ethnic languages. Even Mandarin Chinese is attempting to dominate as well. The long-term solution must be found and a non-national language, which places all ethnic languages on an equal footing is essential.

An interesting video can be seen at
A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at

conscientizacao said...

Thanks for your comment, Brian. I'll definately check out the video and link.

I've had somewhat of a battle of conscious going on recently. I'm a certified teacher who has really strong ideological differences with the current paradigm of schooling here in the US, specifically in Texas. I've been planning to make it down to South America, ideally getting involved in some local community education for critical consciousness and self-empowerment. I also want to immerse myself in a culture other than my own.

That said, I have no contacts in Ecuador, which is my first choice destination. In light of this, and the fact that I have little to no money, I decided to pursue a Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification. My plan was, and is, to simply use that as a ticket down to Ecuador. I can teach in a program for a couple months, during which I'll be meeting like-minded people active in grassroots educational efforts. Additionally, I'll be able to improve my spanish, which at the time isn't developed sufficiently. I can communicate, but I really have an inchoate sense of humor, personality, and obviously, I have no command of the local vernacular (given I'm still in the States and have never been to Ecuador.)

Anyway, I debated the decision to be a part of the "promulgation of English as the 'lingua franca'" quite a bit. I can tell you it remains a tough pill to swallow. The last thing I want to be is a modern linguistic conquistador, arriving with "good intentions" only to brutalize the culture out of people, under the assumption that I hail from a linguistic high ground, which is English.

My intention as a teacher in any circumstance is to be part of a journey of what Paulo Freire calls conscientizacao, defined as "refers to learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions, and to take action against the oppressive elements of reality." I am a political activist whose arena is the classroom and at the discussion table, in rural areas and urban settings.

Anyway, I've been taking an online certification course for the TEFL, and I already am having qualms with it. Regardless, I hope that once I arrive, I will be able to incorporate some ideas of critical pedagogy into my classroom, and will be explicit about the pros and cons of learning English. Furthermore, I will make sure that, if only in private, my students know that I am their student and they, my teacher; for I am in their community to learn of their customs, language, and belief systems.

The post that you commented on, Brian, is one comprised of some notes I took about indigenous activist groups in South America. I am very much interested in learning with more profundity of their work and, volunteering in any way that I can to support them.

If you don't mind my asking, what is your background...linguistics, education, sociology, other?