Reimagining the Internet: How Indigenous communities are reclaiming their native languages and heritage using online spaces

As a predominantly online-based business, we appreciate the importance of being able to access the Internet. The Internet is heavily dominated by hegemonic languages such as English, Spanish and Chinese, amongst others. In Mexico the hegemonic language is Spanish. 
Photo by Diego Huerta
But what happens when you don’t speak a hegemonic language? For many Indigenous people, the Internet can be an inaccessible space in which to enter, or a space that has to be approached through a non-native language and lens. 
Painting by Olga Costa
With the pandemic forcing people globally to be more tech savvy, there has been a push for Indigenous engagement with online platforms. Global Voices recently hosted an online panel discussion to consider how Indigenous youth can preserve cultural heritage and native languages through the use of social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to promote, strengthen and revitalize viewpoints that may not have found a voice in Internet domains. 
Guests also discussed how it is vital that there is an establishment of ‘community-based Internets’ to share information and create spaces that are outside of mainstream media for Indigenous peoples to construct and interact with. 
Photo by Marisol Benitez
The success of many Indigenous artisans’ work and income is heavily reliant on tourists and international clients. Due to the pandemic restricting travel to Mexico, many artisans have had to come up with new ways to earn and make a living. One of these ways has been to ‘expand the network of digital activists who work to improve Internet connection in communities where digital access is scarce’ in order to make a shift to online sales.
Through our collaboration with Indigenous artisans and as active users of mainstream media, we will continue to endeavour to support, showcase and promote the experiences and work of Indigenous peoples and encourage that there be a space for their own voices to be heard. 

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