Tuesday, January 11, 2011


minga: collective work project/exchange/party/action (my favorite is the last) I DO think it is worth translating at least once - just leaving it as minga will not be easily understood and is the easy way out that seems to me to be taken far too often.

Thanks to Autumn Zellers who (after we talked about it over dinner with Mary Roldan at the LASA conference) sent me this quote from Joanne Rappaport's book Intercultural Utopias, pp 92-3:

"Manuel Quintin Lame, a Nasa leader of the early 20th century, spread his indigenista message through "teaching mingas" (mingas adoctrinados), meetings at which his political demands for indigenous territorial rights and self goernment were aired (Castrillon Arboleda 1973, 91-2). These gatherings adapted the traditional notion of the minga, an Andean institution coordinating the reciprocal exchange of labor that unites members of a community within a network of mutual obligations (Alberti and Mayer 1974), to the highly charged political context of Lame's movement."

Autumn suggested that this made it sound like a kibbutz. Personally I don't know alot about how kibbutzes work and am not sure many others do either. Lately I heard it rendered as 'pow wow'. I *have* been to a lot of pow wows and I certainly don't think they're anything like a minga!

I like the definition Nicole Karsin put up on her fundraising site: "Across Colombian native cultures, a "minga" is a community action aimed at improving the collective well-being. It is the undertaking of an important task that can only be achieved if everyone participates. Defend human rights and native peoples in Colombia by joining this particular "minga" and guarantee the completion of the important ‘collective action’ that is this film." The film is We Women Warriors, a great project to share the stories of brave and inspiring indigenous Colombian women - support her kickstart campaign and help her get it out!