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All The Schools In Yucatán Will Now Teach Students To Speak Mayan

Education By O. DELGADO
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.

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.