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documento | Naming the Dragonfly: Why Indigenous Languages Matter in the 21st Century

Langscape Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 1

From his vantage point in the lush rainforest of southeastern Mexico, the anthropologist, James D. Nations, delves into the social and ecological changes that are threatening the Lacandon Maya’s way of life and putting their language at risk of slipping away. While working to help maintain the language and the cultural knowledge it embodies, Jim reflects on why keeping this (and any other) indigenous language alive does matter: as an inherent right of the speakers; as a reminder that there are many diverse ways of looking at the world that we should all respect and learn from; and as a way of preserving an invaluable store of knowledge about the forest and how to live sustainably in it. That is knowledge that the Lacandones themselves and the world at large can benefit from for the conservation of this remaining richly diverse corner of tropical forest that the Lacandones call home. This story was published in Terralingua's Langscape Magazine, Vol 5(1), 2016.