N áhuatl mandatory in public schools in Mexico Ci ty

Douglas Hinds cedecor at gmx.net
Mon Aug 20 21:50:34 UTC 2007

This was inadvertently sent to Anthony only this morning (I meant to
send it to the list also). I'm also adding a reply to the more
recent messages from John and Marcos below.

Anthony Appleyard asked two good questions:

> Which dialect of Nahuatl? Classical Tenochtitlanian Nauhatl, or a
> modern dialect (which?)?

I assume you're referring to what will be taught in Mexico City's
junior high and high schools (beginning today), and not what's being
used to teach nahuatl speaking teachers in the teachers college of
Tamazunchale. In either case I'd had to check and others here may
know more about it. I wouldn't sell the program short to begin with
since anything new is likely to require adjustments en route and
hopefully, those administrating the project will be open to your and
others constructive criticisms.

I suggested:

>> It seems to me that if they're going to teach Nahuatl they ought to
>> teach the culture also.

> Which parts of the culture?

IMHO, the socially and ecologically responsible parts. But since John
Sullivan teaches both, he's likely to have more to say on the

John wrote:

>> Douglas and Marcos,

>> The general rule, according to my experience, is that the
>> offering of government positions is one step in the standard
>> procedure for buying out/ silencing leaders of social/political
>> movements in Mexico. So, by definition, an indigenous leader
>> would not be able to hold a government position, and continue to
>> represent the interests of indians.

It's true that the past regime was corporativa. It remained in power
by controlling the vote of the sectors of it's party. However -
without federal funds, their power dried up and the present regime
relies on marketing and bribing the judiciary to stay in power.
They don't bother to cultivate casiques.

This means it's a whole new ball game and the people I know that are
involved in establishing a new grass roots indigenous movement are
both serious and competent. An political association with a hundred
thousand non-indigenous members has been formed in just a few
central states and they are covering the cost of reactivating the
CSNI. Once that number is doubled the registry for a party dedicated
to indigenous autonomy and development can be obtained. This will
provide the funds needed for further expansion.

That's the idea (it seems viable to me).

Marcos said:

> That is a debateable point. Mexico has had extraordinary minds who
> had official positions in the Government and yet represented the
> interests of the nation and the Indigenous population, Narciso
> Bassols is a prime example, Bonfil Batalla another one, he who
> fought for Indianismo (as opposed to Indigenismo) while heading
> the Instituto Nacional Indigenista.

Well said.

If control can be obtained over local governments in municipalities in
which the indigenous population has a majority, a lot can be done to
help the communities development.


Douglas Hinds

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