Intercultural Dialogue: Discourse and Realities of Indigenous and Mestizos in Ecuador and Guatemala

Magdalena Herdoíza-Estévez, Sonia Lenk


This study adds to an in-depth understanding of the approaches taken by indigenous peoples in intercultural struggles vis-à-vis governments, language-related policies and mainstream societies in Latin America, specifically in Guatemala and Ecuador. The paper traces the ways in which indigenous peoples have subverted hegemony, contesting and redefining the imagery of Latin American societies, and creating new paradigms for their role in society. It also addresses the assimilation strategies used by the dominant sectors, globally and nationally, aimed at disempowering interculturality as a means of questioning the exclusionary and discriminatory status quo. 

From a comparative perspective, Ecuador and Guatemala exemplify two different approaches to interculturality, with different emphases and outcomes. In an effort to add current voices from the field to this discussion, the study brings up-to-date contributions from scholars and social agents involved in the intercultural discussion and struggles in both countries. These contributions add an in-depth reflection about the processes emerging today in defense of individual and collective rights to difference. This analysis contributes to a broader dialogue that aims to explore models of coexistence between socially and culturally diverse peoples, while addressing the intrinsic tension present in cross-cultural relationships. 


Language policy; Intercultural Education; Rights to Difference