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Generational Integration of Indigenous Women and Youth in Ancestral Knowledge

By Kuakumake Stéreo (Arhuaco)

The Indigenous women of the Sierra Nevada in Colombia, are participating in a radio empowerment project called “The Indigenous Truth.” This initiative, organized by Kuakumake Stéreo, together with Cultura Survival, is essential to promoting the active participation of women and ensuring that their voices are heard in the public sphere.

Our radio project aims to empower Indigenous women on the radio and provide them with the tools and skills necessary to express themselves and communicate through community radio. This includes training in program production and editing, interview techniques, and writing and presentation, among other aspects related to radio.

Through this project, Indigenous women can tell their stories, share their experiences, and transmit important messages to the community. They can address issues that are relevant to them, such as the preservation of Indigenous culture, gender equality, environmental protection, and the defense of human rights.

In addition to radio empowerment, the project is breaking gender stereotypes and promoting a more inclusive and equitable image of Indigenous women. They are challenging dominant narratives and showing the vital role they play in society, both in their community and in a broader context.

Our project is carried out in a participatory and collaborative manner that respects the specific perspectives and needs of Indigenous women. Their voices were included from the initial stages of the project, ensuring equitable representation and promoting collaboration in content creation.

We want our radio empowerment project for Indigenous women of the Sierra Nevada to be a powerful tool to promote inclusion, gender equality, and appreciation of Indigenous culture. By strengthening the participation of Indigenous women in community radio, we are contributing to building more just and equitable societies where all voices are heard and valued.

Our project also provides space for young Arhuaco Indigenous people to play an important role in alternative communication as a way to share their perspectives and address issues relevant to their community. It provides a platform for Indigenous youth to express themselves, disseminate information, and actively participate in social dialogue.

Cultural Survival staff visiting Kuakumake Stéreo. 

Alternative media such as community radio, blogs, podcasts, and online platforms allow Arhuaco youth to share stories, music, poetry, Traditional Knowledge, and life experiences. Through this project, young people have learned ways to make known their worldview, their fight for the preservation of the land and the environment, and the challenges they face as Indigenous youth. Additionally, it provided Arhuaco youth a way to connect with other Indigenous communities both locally and globally. They can now establish collaborative networks, exchange experiences, and learn from other Indigenous youth who are addressing similar challenges.

Alternative media also offers an opportunity for Arhuaco youth to become involved in content production, whether through recording and editing radio programs, writing articles, or creating audiovisual content, allowing them to develop skills in media, technology, and storytelling while strengthening their sense of identity and active participation in their community.

It is important that alternative media are inclusive and respectful of Arhuaco culture and traditions. This involves encouraging the use of the Arhuaco language, incorporating Indigenous voices and perspectives in decision-making about content, and ensuring that the community's intellectual property rights and protocols are respected.

We believe that alternative media provides Arhuaco youth with a valuable platform to share and address important issues and connect with other Indigenous communities. By actively participating in these media, young Arhuacos can strengthen their identity, promote diversity, and contribute to intercultural dialogue and the defense of Indigenous rights.

In 2022, Kuakumake Stéreo received a grant from the Indigenous Community Media Fund, which provides opportunities for international Indigenous radio stations to strengthen their infrastructure and broadcast systems and creates training opportunities for journalism, broadcasting, audio editing, technical skills, and more for radio journalists from Indigenous communities around the world. In 2023, the Indigenous Community Media Fund supported communities with 60 grants totaling $420,000 to Indigenous community media outlets from 20 countries, supporting 87 Indigenous Peoples.