Updated 2 months, 3 weeks ago

An inclusive constitution

A few months before 100 years commemoration of its enactment -5 February 2017 the draft translation of the Constitution grants these languages recognition and a value equivalent to the Spanish language.

"Producing these texts is fundamental to visualize indigenous languages and speakers part" stressed the General Academic Manager Diputy and Language Policy of the National Institute of Indigenous Languages (Inali), Antolin Zealot Preciado.

In an intervie, he stressed that the development of linguistics, the science of language, has helped to plot the sounds of language and provide a script to indigenous peoples.

The writing he insisted is essential to systematize and document all thought, history and philosophy of the ethnic groups that are part of the territory. "So should I be writing accompanied by the language," he explained.

The Magna Carta came after the Revolution of 1910, led by Francisco I. Madero, when Mexico needed to strengthen its political system to ensure the safety of people and their heritage.

Therefore, the then president Venustiano Carranza convened in December 1916 to the Congress to present a draft amendment to the Constitution of 1857 and, thus, the document underwent numerous changes and additions.


This led to promulgate the new constitution on February 5, 1917 at the Theater of the Republic, located in the city of Queretaro.

From then progressively, the document has undergone several reforms such as trascedentes of June 10, 2011, when it replaced the concept of individual guarantees for human rights and incorporated those contained in international treaties.

The Constitution has also recognized and protected indigenous communities and according to the Inali, 364 are spoken in Mexico from 68 language variants derived groups and 11 linguistic families.

This diversity places Mexico among the 10 nations with more native languages and in Latin America is one of the countries with the highest number of speakers of indigenous languages.

Zealot Preciado pointed out that in Mexico there are seven million speakers of indigenous communities, however, the 50% percent lives in urban areas.

Of this, he argued, today the 38% percent lives in big cities like Mexico City, Toluca, Guadalajara, Monterrey and Ciudad Juarez.

At least 64 of the 364 variants are at high risk of disappearing, one of the main factor being the migration of indigenous communities.

He explained that in a situation of vulnerability can be found north of the country -yumana, kiliwa, kumial and cucapá-, the central Altiplano -tlahuica and matazincla- and south -ayapaneco-, for example.

Even he considered Zealot Preciado, ethnic groups have stopped speaking their native languages, to exercise their rights and participate in the distribution of social, economic and cultural resources by discrimination, exclusion and stigmatization suffered.

But now, he said, the paradigm has changed and the National Development Plan 2013-2018 envisages the teaching of indigenous languages in the educational system, from primary to higher education, in order to forge a new reality.

"That poses a huge challenge to change the direction of indigenous peoples and communities," reiterated the official native Mexico State.

That is why the Inali drives, together with universities, civil organizations, and research centers, revitalization policies in those languages that are at risk of disappearing.

As part of the results, he said, the Mexican Constitution is available today in at least 40 indigenous languages; and it has yet to meet the target of 68 groups.

Nahuatl, Otomi, Matlatzinca, Mazahua, Purepecha, Zapotec, Maya, Yaqui and Tarahumara Totonac, among other languages, highlighted in the translation project began in 2011.

The official said that the translation of the most documented the Mexican State is aimed at academics, researchers and journalists, for example, who are the ones to transmit the content to the speakers because most do not read in their native language.

"But when you look at your tongue can be written, they generated a huge thrill. This is very important because it increases their self-esteem, "he said.

In Mexico, four of the 68 national linguistic groups are the greatest number of speakers: Nahuatl, with one million 376 thousand Maya, with 759,000, and Mixtec and Zapotec, with over 400 thousand each.