Chiapas: Must education erode tradition ?

Ji?Ium Ou?inal, a place the very name of which evokes an indigenous culture, is where a group of 78 people, Jesuits and lay men and women, met in Mexico in August to reflect on the effect of mainstream education on their traditions. Organized by the Jesuit Network on Solidarity and Pastoral Work among indigenous people, the workshop engaged in an interactive process of listening and observing. Presentations from Mexico and Guatemala stressed the danger to vanishing traditions from educational practices that are, in the final analysis, ?alien? to native cultures, a danger reinforced by widespread migration to cities and the juggernaut of modern technologies. Other inputs, including educational experiences from the proposed indigenous university of Tauca (Venezuela), the Mapuches in Chile, and from new ecological ventures in Amazonia (Brazil) and Paraguay, highlighted the introduction of bilingual and intercultural education in many countries. On the final day, a working group identified some crucial themes: local culture and identity; the contribution of indigenous culture to other cultures in the milieu; the identity of youth; women as agents of cultural transmission; urban and migrant indigenous people; and formal education. The meeting concluded with a pilgrimage to Acteal, where a group of 45 men, women and children were massacred on December 22, 1997 while praying and fasting for peace. [HL30903] Coordinators: Xavier Albó María Condori