A User Group to support the development of Wikimedia projects in indigenous languages of Latin America
We propose the creation of the Latin American Indigenous Languages User Group to actively support the participation of Latin American indigenous communities in the Wikimedia movement with a special focus on Wikimedia projects in native languages of the region.
The group will be comprised of indigenous Wikimedians currently participating in Wikimedia projects, especially native-speaking editors. This group will also be comprised of experienced Wikimedians committed to providing specific knowledge and skills to sustain and grow new and current projects. Priority will be placed on ensuring that indigenous Wikimedians hold the leadership positions within the group.
The group also seeks to complement and support related work by regional affiliates when possible. Since local affiliates are better positioned to work directly with these communities due to their proximity and overall knowledge of the Wikimedia movement, we feel we can provide additional support to increase the participation of these communities by working collaboratively.
The proposal of this User Group also stems from the need to continue to make the Wikimedia movement more inclusive, as outlined in the 2017 Movement Strategy statement:
"Knowledge equity: As a social movement, we will focus our efforts on the knowledge and communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege. We will welcome people from every background to build strong and diverse communities. We will break down the social, political, and technical barriers preventing people from accessing and contributing to free knowledge."
This User Group is focusing on increasing the participation of indigenous communities that want to share free knowledge in their native languages.
- Increase the participation of Latin American indigenous communities in the Wikimedia movement in their native languages.
- Improve the visibility of existing Wikimedia projects in indigenous languages of Latin America
- Facilitate connections among new and existing communities, affiliates, and related institutions to support indigenous group’s participation in creating and sharing knowledge in their native languages
- Provide training and mentoring support through peer learning and exchange.
These are the types of activities that we see this User Group conducting:
- Advising and guidance - Providing feedback when requested to individual editors or groups interested in all facets of participation in the Wikimedia movement in their own native languages. This may include strategic direction, advice on partnerships, directing them to existing resources and best practices, and overall support for creating or sustaining Wikimedia projects in indigenous languages of Latin America.
- Raising awareness and outreach - Using various social media platforms to raise awareness and recognize individual and collective efforts to promote the participation of Latin American indigenous communities in the Wikimedia movement in their native languages. By raising the visibility of the opportunities, but also the challenges in this participation, the User Group seeks to share realistic expectations for these activities.
- Training & Mentoring - Creating or sustaining Wikimedia projects in native languages require a number of skills including recruitment and retention, technical abilities (i.e. managing the incubator platform or translating the interface), research and editing skills, knowledge about linguistics, and documentation. By assembling members (both native speakers and non-speaking mentors) of the user group committed to sharing their own knowledge, we hope to provide opportunities for one-on-one training and mentoring to those that would like to acquire different skills necessary to create and sustain these projects.
- Connecting & Bridging - Being a resource connecting individual editors or groups to different resources, departments within the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia regional affiliates, and other institutions and groups interested in supporting the sharing of knowledge in native languages. This group will also help advocate with and on behalf indigenous communities that want to participate in the Wikimedia movement. At times, access and participation in the larger movement is difficult to language barriers (where English is the operational language). However, there is a unique opportunity for members of the User Group to coordinate and become integrated to regional networks such as Iberocoop.
- Facilitating translation of resources - Thanks to the help of volunteer translators, we are identifying Wikimedia language-related resources that may not currently be available in Spanish. For example, the translation of the Indigenous Languages and Knowledge on Wikimedia Projects Toolbox created by Wikimedia Canada is in the process of being translated into Spanish - Dates: Ongoing
- Support for Wikiwuj (Wikipedia in Kaqchikel) - We assisted this project in navigating the phabricator request system to increase MediaWiki rate limit for their recent edit-a-thon. In addition, a member User:Zapoteco diiste of this proposed User Group took part in the Wikipedia in Kaqchikel edit-a-thon in July 2018 to provide training workshops and assistance during the event. Dates: June 2018 - present.
The research mapping project "Opportunities and Challenges for Wikipedia in Indigenous Languages of Latin America" found that participation by native-speaking editors was significantly low. By the study’s estimation none of the 4 official and more than 30 incubator projects were started by native speakers, but rather by well-intentioned editors who acquired the native languages as a second language or by non-speakers eager to see knowledge shared in different languages of the region.
However, the study also found that there were promising examples of native-speaking editors who were relatively active in these official and incubator projects. In addition, the study found that many of these editors were participating in a solitary fashion without any meaningful contact with fellow editors in a community building fashion. There were also gaps in knowledge regarding some of the overarching principals and in technical aspects of the platforms.
Another element of the project was a survey of 163 respondents that included 80 native-speaking internet users, and from that group 30% did not know that there could be a Wikipedia project in native languages. This indicates a potential to help spread the word about existing projects.
The study recommended the creation of a User Group to help address some of the challenges cited above. We understand that there are significant challenges when supporting communities interested in sharing knowledge in their native languages, but we are inspired and re-assured that there are ongoing efforts that need additional and unique types of support, but also that there are leaders across the movement committed to the inclusion of these communities within the broader Wikimedia community.
Rising Voices, the digital inclusion project of Global Voices, has been helping to facilitate the creation of this User Group due to its links to many of the editors and communities, and experience working with digital participation by indigenous communities. Its role in this User Group will be to provide administrative support for the introductory period with the goal of promoting leadership positions by native-speaking editors.
The idea for this group will be two types of membership:
- Current native-speaking editors
- Mentors and supporters within the movement that can provide assistance in the different types of activities
Founding members of the User Group:
- Leonardy Fernández (Leonfd1992) - Venezuela, speaker of Wayuunaiki language
- Rodrigo Pérez (Zapoteco diiste) - Mexico, speaker of Zapoteco language
- Ruben Hilare (Ruben.Hilare) - Bolivia, speaker of the Aymara language
- Uskam Felix Camey (Uskam) - Guatemala, speaker of the Kaqchikel language
- Hugo Chocoj (Chocoj) - Guatemala, speaker of the Kaqchikel language
Founding mentors of the User Group:
- Juan Sebastian Quintero Santacruz (Sahaquiel9102) - Colombia
- Olga Viota (Caleidoscopic) - Bolivia
- Monica Bonilla (User: Mpbonillap) - Colombia
- Jorge López-Bachiller (Jotzun) - Guatemala
- Hugo.arg - Lithuania
As we consolidate the group, we will invite new members that have become active editors in their native languages, as well as identify technical, linguistic, and other organizational needs held by the members. We also recognize the need to work to address gender diversity within the membership.
We will start small and aim to grow over the next 12 months. If interested in joining, please indicate below your interest:
The User Group counts on a strategic alliance with the Wikimedians of North American Indigenous Languages User Group with whom it shares similar objectives.