North American Community Environmental Leadership Exchange (NACELE) 2017 participant Maribel Hernández López developed a language revitalisation undergraduate thesis project with her classmate Diany Mathias at the Intercultural University of Chiapas in Mexico.
As they discovered, in the community of Bajucu, Las Margaritas, approximately 50% of the population no longer uses the Tojol-Ab’al language in a fluent manner, and has some degree of ignorance regarding the Tojol-Ab’al names for words. This problem principally affects children and youth: factors include acculturation (globalization, modernization, migration, use of technology and ideological changes), discrimination (difference and lack of interest in strengthening language) and the educational system (lack of support, lack of resources, no materials to promote the original languages).
To address these issues and strengthen the Tojol-Ab’al language in Bajucu, their project seeks to identify the causes and consequences of linguistic changes in the community, conduct workshops to raise awareness among children, youth, and parents on the language and cultural identity, develop learning materials with high school students in the community, teach strategies to strengthen the language, and promote the use of traditional plants in the Tojol-Ab’al language. The alumni fund supported the purchase of a projector, microphone, writing and craft supplies for educational activities.
Read more about Maribel’s project here.