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“The term ‘indigenous’ is being represented from an institutional and State perspective”

The Reframed Stories Project asks people to respond to dominant themes and issues that appear in news coverage about their communities. These stories are reflections by people who are frequently represented by others in the media. Word clouds are created using the Media Cloud platform, a data analysis tool which examines a collection of media outlets over a specific period of time, allowing participants to analyze and discuss preliminary insights into how they might be represented in the media. The project refrains from making conclusive pronouncements about the data, and instead is a starting point that creates space for discussion about how they can help shape their own media representation through digital media.

Sebastián Terán is a member of the broadcast team of the weekly program “Descolonizar el Coco” on Wambra Radio in Quito, Ecuador. The following is a transcript of the video about Sebastián's analysis of the word cloud for the term, “indígena” (indigenous) within the Ecuadorian context.

Dominant words from 1,599 articles published between January 2017 and April 2018 mentioning “indígena” (indigenous) within 2 Media Cloud collections of Ecuador’s Spanish-language media outlets. (view larger image)

What about the word cloud drew your attention most?

Se ve que se está representando lo indígena a partir de una mirada institucional, desde el estado sobre todo en coyunturas electorales que suponen una condición democrática, inclusiva, y participativa. Por eso podemos encontrar palabras como ‘presidente,’ ‘organización,’ ‘gobierno,’ ‘nación,’ ‘dirigentes,’ y ‘CONAIE’.

The term ‘indigenous’ is being represented from an institutional and State perspective, especially in electoral situations that assume democratic, inclusive, and participatory conditions. That's why we can find words like ‘president,’ ‘organization,’ ‘government,’ ‘nation,’ ‘leaders,’ and ‘CONAIE‘ (The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador).


According to the word cloud, how has ‘indigenous’ been represented in the media?

Algo de lo que no se está dando cuenta porque es una representación lejana y distante sobre los indígenas son los elementos más concretos de sus realidades – de sus contextos específicos como por ejemplo, la lucha, la cuestión de las mineras o las marchas o este vínculo profundo con la tierra es algo que se excluye o que se lo ve desde una distancia prudente.

Something one may not realize because it is a distant and faraway representation about indigenous people is the most concrete elements of their realities – their specific contexts, for example their struggle, the issue of mining, the marches or this deep connection with the earth, which is something that is not included [in the word clouds] or seen from a prudent distance.

What words should a word cloud for ‘indigenous’ have?

Creo que aparece esto de la indígena en los medios porque son actores relevantes, pero no sé en esa medida solo se quiere visibilizar a un actor pero sin comprender su realidad y su contexto.

I think ‘indigenous’ appears in the media because they are relevant actors, but I think in that way they only want to make an actor visible but without understanding their reality and context.

This is part of a Rising Frames series developed in close collaboration with the organization El Churo based in Quito, Ecuador. They organized a workshop held on April 21, 2018 that brought together representatives from various collectives and groups to examine how they or issues they care about are represented in a collection of Ecuadorian media and to create stories in response.

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