04 / 1993
SUMMARY: There are 12 indigenous radio stations in Mexico. They were established to provide indigenous communities with the opportunity to speak their languages, promote and preserve their cultures, and to encourage the oral traditions of their ancestors.
RATIONALE: Indigenous people are traditionally denied a voice by the mass-media, and are sometimes marginalized even within a community radio context.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT: The stations are funded and administered through Instituto Nacional Indigenista (The National Indigenous Institute-INI).
METHODS: Programs in the stations focus more on cultural themes than on political and economic situations of their listenership. Personnel go out into the communities in their region, to record festivals, music, interviews with elders, and gather information about indigenous customs, ceremonies and history. Many villages which surround individual stations are also equipped with facilities where they produce their own programs. Training is provided by station staff, who serve as intermediaries between the radio and the population.
STATION EG.: XETLA/’La Voz de la Mixteca’ (Voice of the Mixteca)is a station located in Tlaxiaco, a town of 30,000 people in the state of Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s poorest states. The indigenous population in the region are Mixtec and Triqui. The station in 12 years old. XETLA’s programs, produced in Mixteca, Triqui and Spanish, include native music from the region, children’s programs, and a large number of shows recorded in surrounding communities. ’Radio XEZON’ is INI’s youngest station. It is located in the Nahuatl community Zongolica, a village with a population of 5 000 in the state of Veracruz. XEZON sponsors a group of women artisans in the village Soledad Azompa. The women are currently producing a radio drama series on the Mexican revolution. Another program was produced in Zongolica’s prison, with the participation of the prisoners. The radio program allowed the prisoners to communicate with the outside world. Many of them come from far away villages. A musical group inside the prison recorded their music for broadcast on XEZON.
To contact either Radio XETLA or Radio XEZON, write to: Instituto Nacional Indigenista, Departemento de Radio, Ave. Revolucion 1227-piso 4, Col. Alpes, Mexico DF, CP 01010, Mexico. (Worksheet originally produced in French).
Articles and files
DEEVEY, Roxanne, AMARC=ASSOCIATION MONDIALE DES RADIODIFFUSEURS COMMUNAUTAIRES, AMARC in. INTERADIO, 1992 (CANADA), VOL.4 NO.4