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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Community Oriented Radio Stations and Indigenous Inclusion in Cauca, Colombia.

  • Author(s): Cortes, Diego Mauricio
  • Advisor(s): Hallin, Daniel
  • et al.

For more than 50 years, Catholic and evangelical missionaries, the State, international aid agencies and indigenous organizations have widely used radio stations as tools for promoting literacy, introducing new agricultural techniques, evangelization, and protection of indigenous languages within indigenous societies in Colombia. Yet, we do not really know the impact of these radio stations on the indigenous people’s political, social, and cultural life.

This dissertation assesses the impact of community radio, focusing on two of the most politically involved indigenous communities of Colombia – the Misak and the Nasa people from the Cauca region. In addition to founding the Colombian indigenous movement, the Misaks and the Nasas have long been involved in community oriented media projects, including the Catholic Church’s Radio Sutatenza, community radio stations, and evangelical radio stations. My hypothesis is that these radio stations have been fundamental tools to promote indigenous inclusion into the modern Colombian society.

This process of indigenous inclusion, however, has brought new challenges for indigenous people, including dependency on external funding, corruption, and bureaucratization of indigenous organizations. As a response, indigenous grassroots are currently proposing other communication practices and theories in order to resist the contradictions brought by this modernization process.

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