According to the meager literary records made by Spanish scribes, from the colonial period, our grandparents who lived in Abya Yala, at the time of the European invasion, maintained a fluid communication internally and with the other peoples of the time. And, it could not be otherwise.
Colossal civilizing structures that covered immense territories, even without annulling the cultural differences of the subalternized peoples, needed a meticulous intercultural communication strategy.
In the case of the Incario del Tawantinsuyo, which covered a good part of South America, the role of official communication was in charge of an army of chaskis (young people trained to travel by trotting, in a synchronized way, all the Incan territory carrying the message.
And, thus, Mayans, Aztecs, Chibchas, Nahuas, Aymaras, Guaranis…. All these civilizations had their own system of internal communication and with other peoples. Colonial records indicate that, both in the Caribbean Sea and on the coasts of the Pacific Ocean, the European invaders found native commercial vessels loaded with trade goods. This certainly required a high degree of intercultural communication.
Indigenous communication during the Colony
With the invasion, our grandparents’ communication system suffered a profound trauma. The native languages, the symbols, the native information supports (kipus, geroglyphs, etc.) were destroyed and forbidden under penalty of death.
Over time, the invader/colonizer, unable to communicate in European languages with the survivors of the holocaust, was forced to train bilingual or polyglot indigenous communicators (literate, some of them) to indoctrinate and forge the colonized, servile Indian. The squares and churches were the main sites of the colonial imperative communication.
During the Colony there existed a system of predatory communication of the native forms of communication. The Colony used indigenous communicators to disseminate, impose and maintain their policies of plundering, protected by the will of the unknown God.
If before the European invasion native communication was more sensitive to cultural difference (intercultural), and responded to the political interests of the native powers. With the Colony the communication became violent, monocultural, metalized, and at the service of the plundering of the
villages. Europe never saw us as native civilizations as bearers of the “logos”, that is why it never saw us as subjects of communication with whom to speak. Hence, perhaps, its obsessive bet on culturisidium.
Indigenous communication during the Republic
In the two centuries of the Republic, communication in the national states remained colonial to the indigenous peoples. During the European Colony we accepted baptism for the promise of being subjects of the Christian King. During the Republic we accepted to go to schools (to learn modern civility) because we were promised citizenship.
But, in spite of this effort, we continued to be mistreated/poiled as being understood by God and NOT citizens (with no rights, only obligations). This, thanks to monocultural, ethnophagic, patriarchal communication. Folklorist in recent years.
Just as during the European Colony, in the republican era there is indigenous communication, even with indigenous communicators, but at
service of the “criollo” bosses who run the bicentennial states. All the communicative effort in the Creole Republic was and is to annihilate the indigenous “being” and implant in indigenous bodies the national/creole mestizo “being”.
During the Republic, many of us have academic degrees, including those of journalists, but the higher the degree or number of academic degrees, the more submissive and useful the indigenous communicator is to the communicational interests of the permanent internal colonialism that our peoples endure.
During the Republic, indigenous people have behaved “very well. Even much better than during the European Colony (a sign that the republics did not deal with indigenous rebellions). But in the republics we are doing worse than during the European Colony. Baptized, schooled, titled (not in few cases) but without land, without water, without opportunities, without rights. Without state, without citizenship. That yes with territories plundered, contaminated, for the development of the republican bosses.
Indigenous Communication in Digital Societies
If during the Colony and the Republic the indigenous communication operated to cage us in political borders, in search of the failed national identities. In this stage of the digital era, indigenous communication, using modern technology, must be hooked up to the Internet (as long as it allows us this prison of algorithms) in order to resignify the neglected agendas of our peoples.
Indigenous communication must spend less energy in disputing “frequencies” in radio and television, and betting on the Internet. Take the digital platforms of social networks, for example. The indigenous communicator, in order to position our agendas as peoples, and advance towards our emancipation, should not exhaust himself in the dream of being a traditional “radialist”, but rather bet on being an influence on the networks. How many indigenous youtuber do we have in and from our peoples?
If during the Republic we were made folklorist communicators, well-behaved, promoters of Republican nationalities, in this era
digital we must bet on authenticity as indigenous communicators. This implies knowing and accounting for our processes of identification with our peoples. To make the agendas of struggle of the peoples our communication agendas.