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Indigenous Languages in Mexico Are Weakening With Every New Generation

Xinhua
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August 12, 2015



The states of Guerrero, Chiapas and Oaxaca have the largest indigenous populations in Mexico. (Notimex)

A harsh truth has emerged in Mexico. Young indigenous people who speak Spanish and cut ties with their roots stand a better chance at getting an education, landing a good job, accessing health services, and escaping poverty.

This is at odds with countries like Bolivia and Peru which have seen a swell of indigenous pride in recent years.

In Bolivia, starting Aug. 6, all officials must speak one of the country's several dozen indigenous languages or risk getting fired. Any young people desiring a career in the government must speak one such already or need not apply.

In June, Peru announced the result of a long study which saw 24 indigenous alphabets being recognized and protected. From now on, any government information sent to these communities must be written in the relevant alphabet as well as Spanish.

While having 14.9 percent of its population made up of indigenous people, Mexico has not emulated these track records. On the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples on Aug. 9, the Mexican Senate's Belisario Dominguez Institute issued the latest statistics on the country's indigenous people Sunday, based on a national survey conducted in 2014.

The numbers in the Senate report make a stark truth abundantly clear: people who speak indigenous languages are at a massive disadvantage in almost every sphere of life.

Read the rest at GlobalPost

Related: UN Says Indigenous Groups Don’t Have Access to Health Services (The News)

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