“Showing them a picture-book crow, I intone ‘kaak
’ in Bengali, the State language. While others repeat in chorus, the tribal Santhali first-graders respond with a blank look. They know the crow only as ‘koyo’
. They’ll happily roll out glass marbles to count but ask them how many they counted, they remain silent because in their mother tongue, one is mit
, two is bariah
- very different sounding from the Bengali ek
Education, the most powerful instrument in the struggle against exclusion and discrimination, is still elusive for indigenous people in Latin America who remain the most disadvantaged segment of the population despite their wide presence in the region.
As the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples approaches on Sunday, Aug. 9, concerns are growing that they will not fully benefit from the newly drafted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).