Media Manifesto, T. Miyoshi

Tomohiro Miyoshi

Manifesto on Indigenous Peoples in Latin America

Political participation of indigenous peoples is essential for the true development of Latin America. But they have been excluded from the Latin American politics, and the politicians from the dominant minority have attempted to destroy the indigenous cultures. Moreover, indigenous peoples, especially women and young people, have been underrepresented in the media, which poses challenges to their political participation. It is very important to ensure indigenous peoples’ rights of representation in media because media have a great impact on public opinion.

The political inclusion of indigenous peoples can be achieved through their representation in media. Therefore, education and training of the indigenous peoples is necessary to help increase their knowledge of new information technology that boosts their representation in media. In fact, the UN Department Programme (UNDP) tries to provide some of the indigenous peoples such as the Aymara, Rapa Nui, and Mapuche with training sessions in Chile on how to make a better use of information technology in order to boost their political representation. This training session greatly helped the indigenous groups of people actually improve their communication skills and participate in political arena. Therefore, we should actively adopt this method to help even more indigenous peoples learn about media technology and gain more parliamentary seats by utilizing the technology.

Although there are, as I mentioned, some efforts to include indigenous peoples in politics, their political representation is still very low. So far, Bolivia is the only country which has numerous indigenous peoples in the lower house of parliament. In other countries such as Mexico, indigenous peoples represent less than 10 out of 500 members of the lower house of parliament despite the fact that they make up the majority of inhabitants in many cities.We should not just allow nonindigenous groups to dominate the number of parliamentary seats because those groups have exploited the indigenous cultures and tried to foster a development based solely on economic aspects. They have totally ignored the development on the basis of cultural values, so they have tried to oppress the indigenous cultures and make them assimilate into Western cultures. Now we have to acknowledge that political representation of the indigenous peoples is an essential step toward the genuine growth of Latin American society. It is indigenous representatives who can preserve their own cultural values and open a new path for Latin American Indians.

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