Narrators of the Historical Memory of San Basilio de Palenque: A Decolonial Project of the Kuchá Suto Collective Youth

Conference: The Paris Conference on Arts & Humanities (PCAH2022)
Title: Narrators of the Historical Memory of San Basilio de Palenque: A Decolonial Project of the Kuchá Suto Collective Youth
Stream: Ethnicity, Difference, Identity
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Valentina Aduen, Texas A&M University, United States
Luis Ricardo Navarro Diaz, Universidad Simon Bolivar, Colombia
Diana Barrios, Independent Researcher, Colombia
Rodolfo Palomino Casiani, Kuchá Suto Communication Collective, Colombia


Northern Colombia's “Palenquera” community is known for its unique ways of interpreting the world, local knowledge, and Africana narratives. This research aims to evidence the reconstruction process of this African descendant community after being impacted by armed conflict. Through decolonial theory and ethnic education, we analyze the social impact of youth participation in the Kuchá Suto communication collective. We interpret their communication for social change projects as a decolonial theory in praxis, “knowledges from below” that resist “western ontological totalitarianism.” Through qualitative and ethnographic methods, such as semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and patchwork quilts, the team conducted an interpretative study of the communication experiences of the youth. The community interpreted and adopted these methods to design and systematize their communication processes and historical memory. We examine how they create sustainable social change for the displacement of the population and the high unemployment index of the area. They led audiovisual production training to support and make visible existing local knowledge. They developed oral tradition projects to recover and sustain lost local knowledge and produce new knowledge rooted in their heritage. Palenqueros communicate in emotional and imaginative ways. Kuchá Suto’s decolonial project gives us a road map of how to document and share the elements and dimensions of local inquiries founded in the transformative power of the human condition, the recognition of the other, and communicative processes that build memory, culture, and peace. More than a theory of resistance, this is a theory of peace, a long-life project of survival and reconstruction.

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