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Indigenous children: In their own words...

María Ernestina Pilca Cholango is concerned about preserving her Kichwa culture and language. She was a participant in the indigenous children's meetings in Ecuador.

© UNICEF Ecuador/2005
Maria Ernestina Pilca Cholango

By Maria Ernestina Pilca Cholango

My name is María Ernestina Pilca Cholango, I come from the community of Los Andes, in Cayambe. I represent the kichwa nationality. I am 19 years-old and I study at the school “Dolores Cacuango”. Like Mama Dulu, I think we the indigenous people should get trained and keep this participation process. Our voices should be heard, and that’s the reason we are working in my community with children, and also with young people and adults, to keep moving forward.

Before, we didn’t have more participation because we were far and neither the leaders nor the authorities paid any attention to us, but now we are organizing ourselves. We are the present and the future of our country, and we should maintain this leadership process.

I want to keep studying and specialize in agricultural forestry. In our land they are sowing with chemical fertilizers, and that’s harming microorganisms and peoples’ health. We must recover our ancestors’ traditions and use organic fertilizers.

For us is very important to respect our territory and our culture, don’t give in and keep ourselves as indigenous. For this reason I say that I want to be one of the first indigenous and not one of the last peoples of mixed race



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