UNICEF presents a linguistic and sociocultural in-depth look at the indigenous peoples of Latin America
A Sociolinguistic atlas of the indigenous peoples of Latin America set to be a tool for designing and implementing public policies that take into account the richness and the linguistic complexity of the region
Cartagena de Indias (Colombia), 9 March 2010 - UNICEF presented today, in cooperation with the Spanish International Cooperation Agency (AECID) and the Foundation for Intercultural Bilingual Education (FUNPROEIB Andes), the Sociolinguistic atlas of indigenous peoples of Latin America, a linguistic and sociocultural analysis for Latin America.
"We had very little knowledge about the situation of indigenous peoples, or about the cultural, educational, linguistic, economic, demographic and social aspects of their lives," points out Walter Gutiérrez, the head of the Intracultural, Intercultural, Multilingualism Policies Unite from the Education department of Bolivia and member of the Aymara group from the Bolivian Altiplano.
According to him, without a “wider view” of Latin America, it is “impossible to design comprehensive policies to protect the best interest of the indigenous peoples”. Because of this, he describes the Atlas as “a breakthrough” and “a useful tool” for planners and leaders.
With information from 21 countries, the Atlas analyzes the region from south to north, starting in Patagonia and ending in Mexico, describing the 522 indigenous peoples of Latin America through demographic and geographic data and providing a critical look at their current situation. The Atlas wants to become an instrument for designing and implementing public policies that take into account the richness and the sociolinguistic complexity of Latin America.
"Having more information about the indigenous peoples located in several Latin American countries can help us replicate successful experiences in education from one country in others,” says Anna Lucia D'Emilio, UNICEF Regional Advisor on Education and Excluded Populations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Leticia Casañ Jensen, AECID´s Indigenous Program Coordinator views the Atlas as “an important tool for all those people who work for the recognition and the right to self-development of the indigenous peoples of Latin America".
The Atlas, printed in two volumes, contains demographic, ethnic and linguistic data. An interactive DVD is enclosed to the publication with diagrams, statistic and maps to disseminate the information in schools, media and indigenous organizations in Latin America.