Until recently, there has been no comprehensive archive in Ecuador focused on the preservation of indigenous oral recordings, writings and other materials. Most of the material has been part of specific research projects or other activities and has been lost or is scattered throughout the world, primarily due to the lack of a secure archive in Ecuador. These recordings and other materials, primarily created by linguists, anthropologists, social scientists and missionaries, are vestiges of the culture of the indigenous–conversations, ceremonies, stories, songs, rituals, etc.–and need to be archived, not only because of their role in research and maintaining and revitalizing the languages and cultures, but also because these materials will be of paramount importance for future generations in terms of remembering and learning about their own cultures.
About the archive
The Project of the Language and Culture Archive of Ecuador was started in 2010, in association with the Anthropology Program of the Latin-American Faculty of Social Sciences in Ecuador (FLACSO) and the DOBES programme (Documentation of Endangered Languages) from the Max Planck Institute of Psycholinguistic, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, as technical counterpart.
The project consists in the implementation of a digital archive comprising video and audio recordings, as well as texts and other materials related to indigenous languages and nationalities of Ecuador. The access to the material is totally free, via the Internet. Intellectual property rights of the speakers are strictly respected.
The archive intends to:
Contribute to highlight the linguistic, cultural and ethnical diversity of Ecuador.
Foster the maintenance and preservation of the language and cultural practices amongst the speech community through: revival and documentation project, arqueological and anthropological research, etc.
Promote processes of technological knowledge to indigenous people.
Implement participatory methodologies for the registration of cultural and social practices.
Preserve the material in a safe and permanent way in standard digital formats ensuring its long-term existence.
Allow access to digital resources via the Internet to: Ecuadorian and Latin-American indigenous people, researchers, students, and the general public. This access is based on a system that respects the intellectual rights of both the indigenous speaker and the contributor to the archived material. The speakers and contributors determine who may have access to what material.
Utilize the resources of the archive to publish educational, literary, cultural, grammatical, linguistic and audiovisual material, amongst others.
Contents of the archive:
Video and audio recordings from different oral events and cultural activities with translations, transcriptions and annotations on the content and linguistics characteristics;
Diverse collection of material on a wide range of themes, including rituals and traditional stories and practices, cosmology, medicine, daily conversations, songs, children’s games, child acquisition, etc;
Photographs and drawings;
Field notes from specific researchers;
Publications and documents resulting from researches on indigenous peoples, nationalities and languages of Ecuador;
Description of the content and key words (metadata) to facilitate a specific search via the Internet;
Description of the circumstances of the research, recording and documentation processes (also metadata).
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