Whose Voices?

Ep 6 - Yamanik Cholotio on Accessibility and Respect for Indigenous Languages on the Internet

Post also available in: Español

This audio interview is in Spanish. Transcript is available in English.

Yamanik Cholotio is an indigenous feminist woman and Guatemalan communicator, that works at the intersection of communication and women, in her position at the Federation of Guatemalan Radio Schools (FGER), an organization that brings together several community radios across the country.

“Ultimately, I think that is what people who are working on the issue of indigenous languages ​​and technology are asking for: that platforms are more accessible to indigenous communities.”

In this interview we discuss the current state of indigenous languages ​​in Guatemala, and the different strategies that communities use to bring their knowledge and languages ​​to the internet. Yamanik invites us to reflect on which are the most appropriate technologies and platforms for indigenous communities, why it is important to make them more accessible, and most importantly, what we need to bring tech and indigenous communities closer together in order to decolonize the internet’s languages.

“I think the point is being able to create interest from tech communities towards the indigenous communities who are already doing a lot, and articulate more so that the indigenous languages are present on the internet.”

Importantly, Yamanik reminds us of the agency indigenous communities have — and must keep — when deciding how much of their knowledge they want to bring to the internet.

“Indigenous communities do not want to say or publish everything. There is a matter of respect towards the recognition of our knowledge, and towards what we want to publish — and what we don’t. I believe these are issues that technological communities should have in mind.”