Research proposal for decolonial technologies in the field with traditional communities

1 – Research Question

In recent years, we have seen an accelerated intensification of the different pressures that threaten indigenous peoples, concurrent to the weakening of the bodies responsible for the construction and implementation of public policies that aim to mitigate these pressures and their impacts in Brazil. With the worsening and indefinite prolongation of the global Corona Virus pandemic, indigenous peoples, already historically unassisted, have to face new challenges to organize their struggles for rights. Following the measures of the health authorities, among which is the social distancing and the consequent suspension of in person meetings, the indigenous peoples have had to adapt their strategies of political and social organization in such a way that digital tools of communication and information have become central.

In addition to the difficulty in accessing the Internet and the low quality of the connection in rural territories and indigenous lands, the work both with indigenous organizations and with community networks informs us that by guaranteeing access to the Internet it is necessary to guarantee digital , media and hardware education in order to minimize the risks and damages that misuse of digital technologies can cause.

The indigenous communities of the Amazon region have their ontology and epistemic based on the concept of “bem-viver/buen vivir”, which are generally about the quality of life for current and future generations by taking into account their ways of life closely related to forest dynamics.

With the arrival of non-indigenous communication technologies, which are based on the precepts of neoliberalism (Jimenez, A. Roberts, T., 2019, p. 180) and market-oriented, it is evident that it is necessary to go beyond the question of access and connection of these communities and support the creation of methodologies that integrate technologies with the epistemology of these peoples.

Based on this the proposal wants to answer the following question; Is it possible to develop communication technologies based on the indigenous concept of Buen Vivir to face the territorial issues and social inequalities experienced by Brazilian indigenous peoples?

2 – Explanation of the methods

Initially, the work proposal is to create a participatory program of research and training of local actors, for initiation in ICTs (information and communication technology) and development in community networks, inspired in the IEB’s formative methodology.

Basically the methodology used is based on the principle that (i) knowledge must be constructed together with the communities and groups involved and (ii) the demand for new scientific/western knowledge must also be sensitive to local imperatives. It envisioned the constitution of qualified networks of local interlocutors rooted in their territories, discussing their perspectives and future horizons, stimulating the ideas and potential of each one in order to interact concepts, tradition, and new learning by ensuring symmetry between different forms of knowledge.

The methodology is developed in 5 stages:

1) Idealizing – the research begins with the articulation of the actors made through representative indigenous and indigenist entities;

2) Modeling – The territorial outline, the beneficiary actors, and the purposes of the initiative are established;

3) Mobilizing – A call for participants is launched, guided by the guidelines and information agreed upon in the workshops of step 2;

4) Perform – a) elaboration of the teaching plans; b) implementation the research to contributions from the participants; c) construction of the collaborative research on the use of technologies; d) training on the themes of ICTs tools, digital and media education

5) Multiply – The group will develop a plan to implement the prototype and will qualify for the dissemination of the research and its results in web format and in conducting a webinar aimed at civil society, with the participation of various actors involved in the theme.

3 – A example timeline of work

Idealize: Survey of the bibliography on the theme and rounds of conversations with indigenous about previous experiences that can subsidize the scope of this initiative. Creation of an educational committee.

Modeling: Set up the territorial scope, the beneficiary actors, the purposes of the initiative and prepare the call for proposals. Prototype the possible technologies and experiences raised in step 1 and present them to the pedagogical committee. Create a document of good data protection practices to be shared with the partners

Mobilize: Insert the actors in the methodology from the creation of a communication group. Collect basic information about the participants and present the methodological proposal designed.

Perform: Analyze the result of technological arrays presented, dream together: what it takes to create ICTs with a different worldview?
To remake the prototypes together with the technology agents and propose the data protection policy.
Deepening in worldview with indigenous technicians.
Implementation of the new ideas and knowledge acquired together with the agents in their communities

Multiply: Systematization of the collaborative research in a report for wide dissemination. Documentation of the technologies developed in the previous step. A webinar with the participation of indigenous researchers for dissemination and political incidence.

4 – Proposed outputs

At the end it will be obtained new technologies designed and/or developed during the encounter, using open software and re-signifying hardwares.

The expected products could be;

  1. Prototype of the technology suggested during the encounters;
  2. Systematization of the research in:
    • consolidate report with integrated data an methodological description of the research
    • systematization in website format developed participatory with the indigenous researchers
  3. Collaborative webinar to civil society (publication and political incidence)
  4. A number os indigenous researchers with improved capabilities (in research methods, digital tools, digital and media education)

5 – Desired outcomes

By rethinking technologies from their epistemological basis to include other ways of life, it is possible to create and impact environments to become more inclusive and sustainable for humanity. The outcomes of the project serves the purpose of recognizing the different worldviews and changing technology as it is understood and elaborated in contemporary times.