[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Indigenous Languages

M. Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Thu Aug 30 06:41:21 UTC 2012

I think it is important to add that all initiatives should be, as much as
possible, driven by indigenous people themselves and their priorities,
rather than consist of non-speakers, non-community members doing things
"for them" or "on their behalf".

If we want to talk about "stakeholders", let's please remember that the
_native_ speakers (not people learning the language as a hobby) are the
main stakeholders, they should be making the decisions as much as possible
and they should be creating the major part of the content; the rest of us
should be in "support positions".

Anything else, especially as part of a large international organization
rooted in a western society (Wikipedia was born in the US in a circle of
non-indigenous people, and most of the major people in our movement are not
indigenous), would be likely to receive only lukewarm support from
indigenous communities.

Lots of similar initiatives from lots of organizations and governments have
languished with little support from native speakers due to the same
paternalistic attitudes that are created time and time again. One example I
would like to share of this happening within our own movement is that of
certain people who create hundreds of pages in a language they barely speak
at incubator, on behalf of some idealized group of "native speakers",  and
then when the native speakers actually arrive, shouting them down or
telling them why their views are not valid (the indigenous person in their
mind was more "noble" and "exotic" and "special" than the real one,
perhaps?). This has actually happened a lot in Wikipedias created before
the incubation process existed (Nahuatl Wikipedia saw it happen multiple
times, Uyghur Wikipedia saw it happen at one point, countless others where
"hobbyists" shot down real native speakers).

Just some thoughts.

2012/8/29 JP Béland <lebo.beland at gmail.com>

> Good day,
> I'm pleased to announce you the creation of Wikimedia Indigenous Languages
> (WIL). WIL is the coordinating body for the promotion and development of
> indigenous on Wikimedia projects.
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Indigenous_Languages (or just
> search WIL on Meta)
> Wikimedia Indigenous Languages' vision is to see the sum of the knowledge
> available to everybody in their own languages and to share the knowledge of
> those languages themselves. It will achieve that by:
> - Reaching indigenous languages speakers for the development of Wikimedia
> projects in their language
> - Establishing working cooperation with outside organizations involved in
> the promotion of indigenous languages
> - Creating and expanding Wikimedia projects in all indigenous languages
> Wikimedia Indigenous Languages' role is to support and encourage the
> efforts of specific projects to develop Wikimedia projects in small and
> endangered languages. It will serve as an international body to collect and
> share best practices, lessons learned and methodology to develop small
> languages Wikimedia projects and preserve endangered languages. It will
> also offer support to people interested in developing initiatives and new
> projects. It will also become the point of contact to set up cooperation
> with other organizations working towards the same goals and will also
> actively seek such cooperation opportunities.
> Anybody or any group who is interested in this project or any projects with
> indigenous languages are welcome to join Wikimedia Indigenous Languages.
> For questions or further discussion, come on the talk page, and a dedicated
> mailing list to discuss languages-related issue and initiatives will soon
> be crated.
> Thanks,
> JP Béland
> (alias Amqui)
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