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Yucatecan poet receives award for promoting Mayan language and culture

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The poet and anthropologist María Elisa Chavarrea Chim (center) poses with her award in Tecax, Yucatán. Photo: Courtesy

Maya language poet María Elisa Chavarrea Chim received an award from Yucatán Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal, who honored her work.

The ceremony was held during celebrations observing the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

Chavarrea Chim, who is also an anthropologist, spoke of her efforts to revitalize the Mayan language through art and poetry, and the importance of increasing the language’s visibility, especially through modern media such as YouTube.  

Ko’ox t’anik maaya t’aan /Vamos a hablar lengua maya [Aprendamos M

Earlier: The fall of the Aztec Empire: A 500-year-old open wound 

“Speaking and writing in Mayan is something which fills me with pride,” said Chavarrea Chim, who is originally from the town of Chumayel.

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed on Aug. 9 each year to raise awareness and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population.

The yearly event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection. It was first pronounced by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1994.

Yucatán has roughly 539,000 Yucatec-Mayan speakers and is the second most-widely spoken indigenous language in all of Mexico after Nahual, according to the 2020 national census. 

But despite this fact, many ethnically Maya people report hesitancy to speak Mayan outside of their communities fearing discrimination.

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