BY ELENA AZAOLA FOR DEBATES INDÍGENAS.
Unable to understand Spanish language, not provided with an opportunity to defend themselves in the court and regularly mistreated by the personnel, Indigenous youth in detention live under the burden of sadness, depression and injustice. As a result of their detention, they end up losing contact with their families, their culture, their community life and the environment.
For decades, organized Indigenous women have wondered why some deaths in Mexico are more visible than others. Who decides which bodies matter? It’s time to start talking about the violence perpetrated against us, Indigenous women. From within our community organizations, we are working to construct a collective memory and promote public policies based on our practices and knowledge.
Mexico is home to 68 Indigenous Peoples, each speaking their own native language and together accounting for 364 variants. The 2020 Census, produced by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), indicated that 6.1% of the national population aged three years and over was registered as speaking an Indigenous language, being some 7.36 million people. This proportion was 6.6% in the 2010 Census. In addition, the 2020 Census noted that 11.8 million people live in Indigenous households in Mexico, 5.7 million of them men and 6.1 million women. In terms of native languages, Nahuatl continues to be the most widely spoken, with 22.5% of Indigenous language speakers, or 1.65 million people, followed by Mayan with 774,000 speakers (10.6%). Two percent (2.0%) of the national population also reported being of African descent, of whom 7.4% confirmed speaking an Indigenous language. It is, however, important to note that problems of under-reporting of the Indigenous population were exacerbated by the early suspension of census data collection due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Outside of census data, the National Institute of Indigenous Languages indicates that 25 million people identify as belonging to an Indigenous people.