While Donald Trump might associate Spanish-speaking with Mexico, the Latin American country actually boasts as many as 68 indigenous languages and 364 dialects. These idiomas, however, are under constant risk of extinction, as the legacy of colonialism in Mexico continues to elevate forced European languages, mostly Spanish and English, over the lenguas of its ancestors.
A new effort by the Mexican government's Fund for The Culture and Arts (FONCA), however, is hoping to preserve these indigenous languages, along with its myths, legends and poems.
Sesenta y Ocho Voces, Sesenta y Ocho Corazones (or 68 tongues, 68 hearts) is a series of animated stories that are narrated in indigenous languages with Spanish subtitles, and shown around the country.
“The communities that we have approached have received [the project] with emotion, eager to see part of their history, tradition and culture in a video,” Gabriela Badillo, the creator and director of the project, told Global Voices. “They are not shown as a ‘static culture’ or a museum exhibit, but rather [shown as] something living that is evolving and growing with the times and the new generation.”
Badillo hopes to produce a short in each of the 68 indigenous idiomas. For now, watch seven of the fascinating videos ahead.
1. The Sorcerer Cricket
Narrated in the Yaqui language of Sonora, Mexico, this is the story “El Chapulín Brujo.”
2. The Last Dance
This video, narrated in Maya of Yucatán, is based on the story “La Última Danza” by Isaac Esau Carrillo.
3. Prometheus' Image
Here, the story of the "Prometheus image" is told in a Zapotec language of Oaxaca, Mexico.
4. The Death
This short is based on Hermenegildo López Castro's "La Muerte," and read in Mixteco of the Oaxaca coast.
5. How Did The Rabbit Get to the Moon
Here, the story “Cómo Llegó el Conejo a la Luna” spoken in Huasteco.
6. When a Tongue Dies
This short is based on Miguel León Portilla's poem “Cuando Muere una Lengua,” and is told in Nahuatl.
7. My Face Dies
This story, based on the poem “Muere mi Rostro,” is narrated in the Totonaco lengua of Puebla, Mexico.