Using social media, Global Voice’s Reframed Stories Project is inviting Indigenous people people to participate in a critical analysis of how global media represents Indigenous social issues and perspectives.
Using a word-cloud platform, the movement gathers synonyms from major media sources to give a conclusive view of the world's understanding of native communities, their lives, culture and lifestyles.
Linked to the word 'Indigenous' are others such as 'movement,' 'right,' 'pueblo' (people) and 'government.' To women, the online community connected the words 'years,' 'married,' 'national' and 'work.' The project then asks Indigenous groups to comment on the terms.
Elena Gualapuro, an Ecuadorean Indigenous woman and member of the Association of Audiovisual Producers-Kichwa Otavalo (APAK), was invited to analyze the phrase 'Indigenous women.'
In an interview with El Churo Comunicacion, Gualapuro said 'community' and 'government' were among the strongest words associated with the phrase, but also that the concepts remained "so distant" from her community's reality.
"I see that people are not discussing the recognition we have been seeking very much," Gualapuro said.
"As an Indigenous woman, the words that I would like to highlight would be leaders, names of women leaders that have been from our bases, because there are."
Traditional media proffer only Western representations of the "ideal woman" and that's not her, Gualapuro explained. Social stereotypes show that beauty is superficial, but the knowledge found in communities is precious. Unfortunately, it's disregarded by most media outlets, she concluded.
The Indigenous activist said media should instead value Indigenous women not for their physical appearance, but for being the "leader, the warrior that she is" rather than "the perfect model of a woman."
The Reframed Stories Project recently reached out to five Latin American nations, providing a platform to contribute to the dialogue dictating their lives and avoid any third-party representation.
Forty-four Colombians, Ecuadoreans, Chileans, Mexicans and Bolivians were invited to participate.