The community of Q’eros numbers approximately 1,000 inhabitants spread amongst five villages. It is located in the remote Vilcanota mountain range in the District of Paucartambo, Department of Cusco, Peru. Subsisting on potatoes, llamas, and alpaca from its perch at 14,000 feet, the community is thought to be the last of the Incas. Its members speak of self-sufficiency with pride, but Peru’s entrance into the global economy is forcing its indigenous communities into a system that devalues traditional livelihoods and customs and puts them at a disadvantage because of their lack of formal education and institutional resources.
When it comes to policy discussions affecting their land and rights, the Q’eros’ inability to speak, read or write in the language of Peruvian policymakers renders them politically voiceless. Video with subtitled translation is critical to increasing these Quechua-speaking peoples’ participation in the political process and the political accountability of local and national governments. Internet presence and community videos would bring these illiterate rural communities into international discussions, thus linking them to an arena that is beginning to value the knowledge and ideas that they provide.