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Interview with Chontalita Vázquez, Chontal language digital activist

Photography shared by Chontalita Vázquez.

In 2020, we continue our social media campaign by inviting different hosts to manage the @ActLenguas (Language Activism) Twitter account and share their experiences with the revitalization of and advocacy for native languages. This profile post is about Chontalita Vázquez (@shineyhua) and what she plans to discuss during her week as a host.

Rising Voices (RV): Please tell us about yourself:

Soy investigadora en formación del Doctorado en Estudios Regionales de la Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas. Maestra en Estudios Culturales y Licenciada en Educación Indígena por la Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, unidad Ajusco CDMX.

Actualmente, soy promotora cultural independiente de lengua chontal/tsome de la Sierra Sur de Oaxaca. He participado en diferentes foros, talleres, cursos y diplomados en materia de educación bilingüe e intercultural, así como en derechos para las comunidades indígenas. Ha impulsado diversas acciones en pro del fortalecimiento de la lengua chontal, hoy considerada en alto riesgo de desaparición.

I am a Doctoral candidate in Regional Studies at the Autonomous University of Chiapas. I hold a Master's degree in Cultural Studies and a Bachelor's degree in Indigenous Education from the National Pedagogical University, in Ajusco, Mexico City.

Currently, I am an independent cultural promoter of the Chontal / Tsome language in the Sierra Sur de Oaxaca. I have participated in different forums, workshops, courses and certificate programs focused on bilingual and intercultural education, as well as on rights of indigenous communities. I have promoted various actions in favor of strengthening the Chontal language, currently considered at high risk of disappearance.

RV: What is the current status of your language on the internet and offline?

Gracias a las redes sociales, particularmente Facebook, se ha generados mayor conciencia sobre el valor que tiene nuestra lengua chontal, debido a este trabajo más jóvenes de otras comunidades chontales se han sumado al proyecto creando sus propias página hablando visibilizando su comunidad así como fomentando el aprendizaje de lengua en pequeñas frases o palabras.

Thanks to the social networks, particularly Facebook, greater awareness has been raised about the value of our Chontal language. As a result, more young people from other Chontal communities have joined the project by creating their own webpages, making their communities visible, as well as promoting language learning through lessons based on short sentences or words.

RV: On what topics do you plan to focus during the week that you’ll manage the @ActLenguas Twitter account?

Estaré enfocándome primordialmente en frases en lengua chontal de la vida cotidiana, datos sobre la comunidad chontal.

I will be focusing primarily on phrases in Chontal language about everyday life and facts about the Chontal community.

RV: What are the main motivations for your digital activism for your language? What are your hopes and dreams for your language?

  • Sensibilizar a la población chontal la importancia de reconocernos como chontales
  • Visibilizar mi cultura
  • Generar en la población joven el interés en aprender la lengua chontal
  • Mayor aprendizaje de lengua chontal
  • Raise awareness among the Chontal population on the importance of recognizing our identity as Chontal Peoples
  • Make my culture visible
  • Generate interest from the young population in learning the Chontal language
  • Focus more on learning Chontal language

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