Positive Discrimination Policies and Indigenous-Based ECEC Services in Bogota, Colombia
2. Materials and Methods
3.1. Professionals’ Posture versus Institution Scripts
IC111: Is it my turn to decorate everything now?ECP: No, no, no, no. It’s an activity for after lunch. (…) for now, this (and indicates children playing “free”) until all children have arrived. And then breakfast…PEPI1: This (while looking at children)?ECP: Yes, that (while pointing out the children playing), you play with them too … then comes breakfast, you finish breakfast and then the cleaning. Then, you organize them at the tables, you talk to them about food, at breakfast … you can also talk to them about food to strengthen the idea at lunch. And then on the tables, then they start (and as talking to the children) “so let’s start decorating what is our dish”, or as you call it.
Taita comes with two more drums, several drum sticks and places them on the floor in the middle of one of the pieces. MP (2.11) greets him and approaches the drum. Taita answers her greeting and says, “I’m going to play the drum. You too, but look first and don’t hurt yourself.” Several children now hit the drums clapping with their hands, while Taita organizes the sticks and starts playing. S (3.3) takes the flute that Taita has in her bag and goes to play with it, to the other room. Taita stays crouched down and tries several sticks on the drum and the different noises they make. An IC from an afro-descendent community tells the children, “Come and see how the drum is played.” Taita plays with two different sticks, then he says “Now it’s up to whom? One by one” and the children try to play like Taita did, others hit the drums differently. At some point they all start hitting at the same time. Taita tells them in a very peaceful tone “No, because you can hurt yourself. Look, look first after you do”.
A Taita from their community is present and he decides to play cosecha (harvest) with the children. IC2 helps him distribute the canoes, mochilas (knitted bags), and knitted pales to the children who are approaching. The children are invited to experiment with these objects. At some point, G (2.8) approaches Taita and asks him “This?” and he answers, “Yes, I will give you some. We’re going to put some little grains here, aren’t we?” Waiting for the little seeds, he throws a trompo (a wooden spinning top) in the middle of the room for the children to see it “dance” and he tells IC1, “Wow, how they all stay quiet to watch it (laughs)”. Then he says, “Well, let’s go get the seeds.” IC1 goes to collect seeds from the furniture cabin and gives them to the Taita, who gets on his knees and explains to the children, “These canastos (hamper) are for the seeds. They are cultural bags of our culture. We must be able to distribute them all (while looking at the seeds).”
“For the past few minutes, the pedagogical team has been organizing and setting up an activity in the dark, with a scenario and chairs for children to seat. At the scenario, IC1 holds a white tissue and at the same time places objects between a light and the white fabric. She addresses the children: “Children, look … its home.” Then, she moves on to the second object quickly, but she is not sure she will find the result she wanted and hurries to place the other object behind the light and before the fabric and asks the children if they recognize the shapes. Immediately, she answers, “It is the children who dance because he had the cosecha. Remember that we talked about this the other day, how the children dance after the cosecha, and we danced … well, this is the one.” The other professionals are taking turns asking the children to remain seated and to stop them from approaching the light and the fabric.
3.2. What It Is to Be Indigenous: Performing “Indigenism”14
An ECP enters the room and says, “Ready? The drum is missing,” and the children repeat “music, music.” IC3 takes out the drum and starts playing. IC1 organizes the children in front of the drum and tells them to dance. IC1 begins to organize the girls in line and move their arms to dance. Then, she rearranges them in a row and says, “Let’s dance.” He grabs T’s arms and moves her, showing her how to dance. For the moment, only J and H are dancing. IC1 changes strategy and decides to place them in pairs and dance hand in hand: V and H and T and D. Now she places them in pairs to dance: A with X and D with T. But it doesn’t work either. She decides to put A and V together, and they finally dance together, until A pushes V against the table. IC1 took V and says to her: “Pretend it doesn’t hurt, and keep dancing.” And they keep making children dance.
The visit arrives and the ICs are asked to take care of a child falling asleep on the floor. J (2.10) improvises and says hello to the visitor and shows them her dress and dances for them. The director of the CDI15 smiles at her while the consultant moves as if she were dancing with J and says, “Let’s see how you dance, show me!” In the meantime, the director of the CDI takes this opportunity to say to visitors: “Look at the books. And the plants are all about their cultivation and their things.” One of the visitors asks her what she means and she replies: “Everything about them, the maloca and the animals with everything that is important to them. They all have their dresses. She is in charge (while pointing to IC1) and they are both helpers (while pointing to IC2 and IC3)”.
IC1 starts putting all the cushions near the mattress, then brings the mattress to children’s naptime, onto which they happily throw themselves. IC1 comes with an ointment, a spray for the children to massage themselves. She takes T (2.1), who lies on the mattress face down and lifts his shirt, but T doesn’t want to do it. So IC1 asks who wants to participate and J (2.10) offers herself. The IC1 lifts the shirt and massages with the spray on the lower back. The other children watch and she explains, “So, caress well.” Then, she lets D (2.10) massage V (2.10). Then, he does the same thing with T and X (2.9). V and D change, so now it’s D’s turn for a massage. V asks for the spray, the IC1 comes and J says in Spanish, “I’m the one massaging.” Then, V asks for more and continues to massage D. When all the children have been “rubbed”, IC1 takes the spray and puts it away in her bag. Children continue to massage their backs or rub their hands together.
Conflicts of Interest
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The term indígenas has been translated to indigenous, to keep the terms used by the research actors.
Colombia is one of the most populated and urbanized countries in Latin America. DANE’s last census points out a population of more than 45 million people where almost 80% live in city areas (DANE 2018) stratified in six different socio-economical classes.
An ethnic identification variable has been included in the 2005 Census “that accurately captures the ethnic population and thus allows its characterization by crossing it with other variables studied” (DANE 2007).
Equity here is understood as the principle that guarantees equal access to each one depending on their need and context; different from equality, which is understood as giving the same opportunities to all, regardless of their context or needs.
This term is used here as part of a resilience process that has been part of indigenous national policies and state’s agreements for a long history of multicultural policies (see Gomez Gomez 2015).
In Bogota ECEC services can choose whether if they are recognized by the SDIS, the Secretaria de Education or by the Ministerio de educacion itself.
Bogotá has more than 17 different indigenous communities living in the city, and each of them has its own political governance institutions and agreements with the city’s government.
Parents’ and professionals’ interviews are mentioned in this article but analyzed in the author’s dissertation.
Respectful term to address older men who carry the wisdom of the community. Sometimes they are also the communities’ political leaders.
SDIS is the district entity in charge of formulating the policies related to social integration, especially to those in greater poverty and vulnerability.
For the purpose of the article and in order to guarantee anonymity, ECP is used to refer to Early Childhood Professional, IC equals Indigenous Caregivers, and children are named by a letter and their age, i.e., MP (2.11).
Defined by Norbert Elias as “the social molding of individuals in accordance with the structure of civilizing process” (Elias 1994, p. 378) or a “mechanisms of integration” (Elias 1997, p. 119).
Respectful term to address older men which carry the wisdom of the community.
The term is used following Souza Lima’s definition as a set of ideas and representations regarding the relations between Indian peoples and nation states (de Souza Lima 1991, 2000), and we expand it to the larger indigenous issue, or, as Said says, “To the westerner… the Oriental was always like some aspect of the West” (Said 2005, p. 67), so the term is particularly used to point out how indigenous are indigenized.
CDI is the term commonly used to refer to ECEC services: Centro de desarrollo integral.
|CASA A||CASA B||CASA C|
|Less than a year working||New one||Open more than 6 years ago|
|Has been organized by a private foundation||Is a Bogota’s city project to respond to an indigenous community petition||Community based project|
|Has been given a room inside a conventional early childhood education and care (ECEC) service run by the foundation||Built on a recover municipal building||Has lost his initial physical space and is actually inside a city’s official’s ECEC service|
|Only Early Childhood Indigenous Caregivers (IC) from the community, but with an Early Childhood Professionals (ECP) coordinator, that holds an idea of what they ought to be and do as Casas de Pensamiento Indígena (CPI)||Different communities IC and some ECP||Only IC from the community but sharing a room and a planning with ECP|
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Sanchez Caro, C.M. Positive Discrimination Policies and Indigenous-Based ECEC Services in Bogota, Colombia. Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 39. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020039
Sanchez Caro CM. Positive Discrimination Policies and Indigenous-Based ECEC Services in Bogota, Colombia. Social Sciences. 2019; 8(2):39. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020039Chicago/Turabian Style
Sanchez Caro, Carmen María. 2019. "Positive Discrimination Policies and Indigenous-Based ECEC Services in Bogota, Colombia" Social Sciences 8, no. 2: 39. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020039