Professor ponders cultural hardships

Sarah Chartock, assistant professor of political science, supported socio-economic improvement in Latin America when she presented her lecture “How Movement Strength Matters: Indigenous Mobilization and the Implementation of Ethnodevelopment Policies in Ecuador and Peru 1985-2005” Thursday in the Social Sciences Building.

Chartock received her Ph.D. from Princeton University this past November.

Chartock defined ethnodevelopment as “policies that target indigenous poverty with a focus on cultural difference and self-management.”

Essentially, she explained, it is the movement for or by an indigenous population to seek improvement of specific areas, such as employment or education.

After researching countries in South America, Chartock expressed an interest in “why Ecuador and Peru vary so dramatically in their implementation of ethnodevelopment and strength of social movements.”

“Socio-economic content is largely shared between these two countries,” she said. It would only make sense that the level of implementation of ethnodevelopmental policies and social movements would match each other.

A chart in her presentation displayed the five components which, according to Chartock, gauge the strength of indigenous social movements.

These include mobilization, endurance, numbers, unity and links on the ground.

In each of the five components, Ecuador displayed a high rate of participation from the indigenous people, whereas Peru exhibited a low rate of participation.

Chartock said the populations of this region are usually represented in “ethnodevelopment legislation,” or policies which target the betterment of certain ethnic groups. She highlighted a contradiction in her research, stating that although the legislation exists, “policies are enacted all the time . that actually don’t end up getting implemented in this region,” specifically in Peru.

In order to increase implementation, the government must attain the vote of the indigenous people and gain the needed participation. She explained that “in order to get votes from the indigenous community, you would want to align with someone who represents the indigenous population.”

Chartock mentioned Rodrigo Borja, Ecuadorian leader of the socialist Party of the Democratic Left and President of Ecuador in 1988.

Borja was able to attain the vote of the indigenous, but was not successful in keeping peace. Chartock described the 1990 Indigenous Uprising in Ecuador, in which the indigenous people staged road blockades, temporarily shutting down the country until the government agreed to negotiate for bilingual education and the recognition of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAE).

Peru, conversely, has not had any national-level uprisings, even though, as Chartock said, there are more indigenous people in Peru than in Ecuador.

The Peruvian equivalent of CONAE is known as the National Directorate of Bilingual Intercultural Education (DINEBI). DINEBI is an organization which advocates bilingual education among the indigenous populations.

Joe Hennelly, junior Environmental Sociology major, asked “whether or not the Internet has provided a feasible method for strengthening group ties.”

Chartock said she does not know about the Internet as a feasible method, but “many organizations (in Peru) are cross-border.” She assumes that the Internet is merely another means of communication.