Caucus on Alternative Information and Communication of Indigenous Peoples asks to be recognized by the UN

At the 15th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations, Anselmo Xunic, president of Asociación Sobrevivencia Cultural in Guatemala, asked the forum to recognize the new Caucus on Alternative Information and Communication of Indigenous Peoples.

He said that the caucus, comprised of Bolivia, Guatemala, Venezuela and Nepal, was formed “to create strong and permanent networks of communication of decolonization of the world,” according to a video posted on the site of Cultural Survival, the U.S.-based sister organization of Asociación Sobrevivencia Cultural.

Xunic said that indigenous people should use mass media in their own communication strategies.

“They can be a mechanism to disseminate their native languages to their people and the rest of the world; to transmit ancient traditional knowledge about their lifestyles; to provide culturally relevant information; to allow cultural pluralism of native voices; to strengthen community organization, respect and harmony with Mother Earth and the cosmos; and to share information about the international mechanisms of human rights,” he told the forum.

The traditionally oral societies are capable and determined to use technical mass media, but need help, Xunic explained.

In addition to the recognition of the forum, he requested that there be a permanent time set aside at the permanent forum for indigenous communicators and media outlets to speak and provide recommendations.

Xunic made his statement on May 19, a day in which many speakers from around the world highlighted the necessity of preserving indigenous languages, according to a UN press release.

According to the release, which cited Venezuelan Linda Manaka Infante, a representative of the Indigenous Language Caucus, “approximately 500 languages were projected to be lost by 2030.”

The Third Continental Summit of Indigenous Communication of Abya Yala in Bolivia was also announced at the forum. The event, organized by five indigenous confederations in Bolivia, is scheduled for November 14 to 18 in Tiquipaya, Bolivia. More than 1,500 people from the continent are expected to attend, according to the event’s website.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.