More than 1,000 Indigenous journalists and leaders came together in Columbia in November to devise a continent-wide strategy to protect and educate their communities and to develop a communications network for the entire hemisphere.
The effort resulted in the Declaration of The First Continental Summit of Indigenous Communication of Abya Yala. “Abya Yala” means “Continent of Life” in the language of the Kuna peoples of Panama and Colombia.
The activities in the five-day summit – held Nov. 8 – 12 – were organized in terms of “Four moments of reflection and analysis.” The first moment was for communication, identity and culture; the second was for “the resistance of the peoples through communication; the third focused on “the challenges of the indigenous communication process; and the fourth involved “communication strategies for the journey of the indigenous peoples.”
One of the first points in the Declaration elaborated on the idea of a network where it stated, “As a first step we have decided to establish a continental link of indigenous communication that describes the different networks, processes and experiences of the indigenous people, organizations and communities. This platform must also serve to publicize efforts of the people of African descent, the rural people, the social activist sector and groups sympathetic to the thinking of indigenous peoples.”
In approaching the continent’s governmental officials they intend to “request from communication ministers on the continent to define public policies in favor of indigenous communication, and to consider grants for sustaining these processes. … from the formation to the equipping of indigenous media and it’s legal exercise, which must be addressed in the next meeting in Peru.”