Indigenous lawmakers fear loss of languages

Mexico’s indigenous languages are at risk of being lost, warn several indigenous members of the Chamber of Deputies, who also see a major threat in persistent racism and discrimination against their culture by the greater Mexican society.

Campeche Deputy Miguel Ángel Sulub is a native Maya speaker who believes that first languages should be taught both at home and school.

If indigenous languages are to survive, he told the newspaper El Universal, discrimination against those who speak them must stop.

“I inherited the Maya language from my parents, who taught me without any method, just by communicating in it. [But] many children in my state don’t want to speak it; they are embarrassed and discriminated against when they do,” he said.

He lamented that when addressing school children in Maya many don’t understand, but if greeted in English everyone replies with a “Good morning.” This, he reckons, indicates a lack of interest by society.

Even bilingual teachers have forgotten their duty to teach in the indigenous languages, brushing aside the goal of preserving them, he added.

A major handicap suffered by native language speakers is the prevalence of a Spanish-only justice system.

Read more: Mexico News Daily

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