All The Schools In Yucatán Will Now Teach Students To Speak Mayan
Kuxtal le maaya t'aano'
¡Que viva la lengua Maya! The government of Yucatán has passed an initiative to preserve and promote indigenous culture and "strengthen the cultural identity of the state."
The state of Yucatán has introduced a measure mandating that all schools throughout the state teach the Mayan language, from elementary to university.
"At this moment, our goal is that the Mayan language be taught in all primary, secondary, and preparatory schools and universities," announced Fidencio Briceño Chel, a linguist of Mayan origin and Director of the Yucatán State Center for Training, Research and Humanistic Dissemination.
"The measure is meant to strengthen the cultural identity of the state," says Briceño Chel. Yucatán traces its indigenous roots back to the Mayan civilization which flourished across the Yucatán peninsula beginning in 2,000 BC.
The Mayan people and language have endured across millennia. Half a million Yucatecos identify as indigenous Maya, and Mayan is the most widely spoken language in the state - and throughout Mexico itself.
Here is a video of a young Yucateco speaking Mayan:
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Unfortunately, indigenous languages and peoples are dwindling and face widespread discrimination. This initiative, spearheaded by Briceño Chel in cooperation with the Autonomous University of Yucatan and the Department of Higher Education, is part of an effort to preserve and promote indigenous culture, especially in schools.
Niños de comunidades de Yucatán entonaron el Himno Nacional Mexicano en lengua maya como parte de un concurso estatal donde participaron escuelas de educación indígena.— ᔕᗩᑎᗪᖇᗩ (@sandra_ov) May 22, 2019
En la 1a. etapa participaron 50 escuelas de diferentes mpios., pero en la gran final fueron 11.
Escúchelos! ???? pic.twitter.com/Vu694oJOKZ
In Valladolid, one elementary school has even incorporated the traditional Mayan huipil as part of their uniform.
Maria Candelaria May Novelo, the director of Ignacio Allende Elementary School, who is of Mayan origin, introduced the change to "maintain and enhance the indigenous identity in new generations" - despite opposition from teachers and even school authorities, who called her "india" and tried to have her removed. With the support of parents, she and her young students now proudly wear their huipiles once a week.