Apocalypse Not! The Maya live on in Mexico

Apocalypse Not! The Maya live on in Mexico

If you are reading this, the world hasn't ended.

It's 12-21-12 and some thought the Mayans predicted the end of the world for this day. But according to experts it actually meant the end of a calendar and the beginning of a new one called a baktun, or 144,000 days.

In Mexico, where I am traveling, there are plans for "End of the World" parties tonight. It's just an excuse to have fun.

But seriously, this is an opportunity to call attention to the real Maya and other indigenous people living in Mexico today.

The indigenous comprise around 15 percent of Mexico's population but only 7 million still speak an indigenous language, according to the National Institute of Indigenous Languages or INALI.

There are 68 different indigenous languages and 364 dialects that belong to 11 linguistic families, according to INALI.

The most spoken languages are Náhuatl, Maya, Zapoteco, Mixteco, Otomí, Tzeltal Tztotzil, Totonaca, Mazateco and Chol.

The five states with the largest indigenous population are  Oaxaca, Veracruz, Chiapas, Puebla and the Yucatán.

Still the number of indigenous language speakers is on the decline. There are 64 dialects with less than 100 people who still speak it.

As the world pays attention to the legends of the Maya, we should note the richness and diversity of Mexico's indigenous cultures and support those trying to keep it alive another 144,000 days.

 

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