Mayan text books stolen and now they are sold online

“During the administration of former state governor, Rolando Zapata Bello, 15 thousand text books of Maya linguistics mysteriously disappeared. So, this bibliographic material will be reissued, with resources from the state and federal government”, informed the coordinator of the Linguistics section of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) Yucatán, Fidencio Briceño Chel.

The coordinator stressed that to avoid the theft of books, the material will be delivered personally to each of the 1,300 bilingual teachers in Yucatan, through the training workshop for indigenous education instructors, to be held next December.

He recalled that the complaint was made public last March, and so far the whereabouts of this highly specialized books was still unknown. Four different titles that never reached the hands of the Maya language teachers.

However, the INAH official stated that some of these books are now for sale on the Internet, with a cost of up to 500 pesos each (when they are meant to be delivered to students for free). 

He noted that after the publication of the books, these were taken to the warehouse of the Secretary of Education of the State Government (Segey), but now, their whereabouts are unknown.

He denounced that the books got “lost” between 2016 and 2018, period during which books in Maya were edited. These copies included the use of verbs, riddles, tongue twisters and songs written in native language, as well as the Standard Writing of the Maya Language. These books were delivered directly to professors, schools or state libraries.

(Photo: archive)

The official stated that the Segey and the INAH are currently working together on a multiple coedition of three titles, for a total of six thousand copies. That is, each title would have a print run of two thousand copies, which will be delivered to each of the 1,300 basic education indigenous teachers and the rest, to state libraries.

Briceño Chel said that they seek to ensure that primary and secondary school teachers can have the same level of education in Maya language, and to sustain it, they will be given the respective material.

He stressed the importance of conserving the Maya language, which is the second most spoken indigenous language in Mexico. And the participation of the new generations is absolutely necessary to keep the Maya language alive. Because, if indigenous language is lost, identity, culture and history are lost too.

Finally, the coordinator of the Linguistics section of the National Institute of Anthropology and History regretted that in Yucatan discrimination against Maya speakers still prevails, and this situation makes parents not to teach their children their mother tongue, basically because they do not want their kids to be bullied at school for speaking in Maya.

The Yucatan Times Newsroom