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Colección: La Educación
Número: (129-131) I,III
Año: 1998

Introduction

On November 10, 1991, Radio XETAR, “The Voice of the Sierra Tarahumara,” observed its tenth anniversary (nine years of broadcasting) in Guachochi, Chihuahua, Mexico, amidst great fanfare by the indigenous people of the region, who value its contribution to their daily lives (Bodenstedt 1991a). This station was established in 1981 by Luis Urías Hermosillo, a scholar and former director of the Chihuahua Museum of Popular Culture. He was appointed by the National Indigenous Institute (henceforth referred to as INI), which has established a network of radio stations that serve indigenous populations throughout Mexico. The first INI station was established in the state of Guerrero, the rest were established in states that the Atlas Cultural de México, Lingüística (1988) reveals as also having substantial concentrations of indigenous populations, for example Oaxaca, Yucatán, Michoacán, Chiapas, Veracruz, and Tabasco. In the 1990’s two stations were added. One serves the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, and Durango, and overlaps with Radio XETAR’s broadcasts to the Northern Tepehuán group in southwestern Chihuahua and northern Durango (Arizmendi 1991). Baja California Norte, a northern state bordering the United States, acquired the second station to serve a migrant indigenous population in its cities.

This study is designed to obtain an overview of the operations of the Chihuahua INI station Radio XETAR and their effect on the economic, political, and sociocultural development of the indigenous population in the Sierra Tarahumara. The extant and potential links to other media forms and key institutions in the region are examined. Particular attention is paid to the content, manner of elaboration, and presentation of broadcasts. as well as their effect on regional cultural preservation and development.