Unless otherwise noted, all translations are mine.
1 There is a plethora of books on the Colombian conflict. The most recent publica-
tions include Kirk (2003) and Leech (2002) in English and Pécault (2001) in Span-
ish. U.S. support for counterinsurgency through the Plan Colombia is examined in
Estrada Álvarez (2001). Sa√ord and Palacios (2002) have written the best general
history of Colombia that is published in English.
2 The Kokonukos and Guambianos constitute a single linguistic family, although the
Kokonukos lost their language in the nineteenth century, and inhabit the valleys
and mountains surrounding the provincial capital of Popayán. The Nasa, who used
to be called the Páez, live on both sides of the Central Cordillera and have expanded
into the Western Cordillera and the Amazonian lowlands; Nasa is the term that is
used in Nasa Yuwe, the Nasa language, and Páez is a hispanicized version of the
name of a Conquest-era hereditary chief. The Yanacona are the large indigenous
group inhabiting the Colombian Massif, where the three cordilleras meet in a vast
mountainous knot. They chose their name roughly twenty years ago to reflect the
fact that many of them were brought to Colombia from further south as yanaconas
in the service of the Incas or the Spanish; Yanaconas are monolingual Spanish
speakers. Although in Colombian administrative parlance Cauca is a departamento,
akin to the departments of France in its subordination to a centralized national
structure, I have translated it as ‘‘province’’ for the ease of an English-speaking
3 I use ‘‘dialogue’’ to cover a multiplicity of communicative contexts, some of them
(such as workshops or negotiations with the state) highly formalized, and some of
them (informal conversations, working meetings) less structured and open to a
more free exchange. In some instances, particularly in local contexts but also in
meetings of Nasa-speaking regional activists, Nasa Yuwe and its particular dialogi-
cal forms are used, but on the whole, ‘‘dialogue’’ in the Caucan indigenous move-
ment involves conversation in Spanish, given that at least half the Nasa population
is monolingual in Spanish and almost none of the other indigenous groups or
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