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Native American Day

Native American Day

The word "aborigine" derives from Latin and means "from the source" or "from the beginning", emphasizing the pride of these people of that they are the "masters of the earth", which in different languages is still called Mother.

Indian tribes of Mexico amount for about 30 % of the total population. The main part of the native population – Indians – live in the southern states – on the Yucatan Peninsula, but they also live in the north of the country, in Sierra Tarahumara. The most large-scale nationalities are the Aztecs, Mayas, Zapotecs, and Tarrasques. The descendants of Mayas predominate among them; they had already walked away from their historical roots and assimilated into modern Mexican society, but continue to follow their ancient beliefs.


Despite the fact that the official language of Mexico is Spanish, local languages still live among the Indian population. And Spanish itself was influenced by local Indian dialects, so then not every Spaniard will understand many of the words of the Mexicans vocabulary.

Officially, Mexico has 68 indigenous languages. Even the National Institute of languages of American Indians is established to study and protect them. However, despite this, 30 languages still are on the verge of extinction due to the shortage of translators, discrimination or small number of language speakers. The most commonly used Indian languages spoken in Mexico are Nahuatl, Mayan, and languages of Mixtecs, Tzeltals, and Zapotecs. Native languages in the Constitution of Mexico are recognized as national along with Spanish, but in fact their official use is very limited: some local laws are published in them, they are taught in bilingual schools, single radio station broadcast in them and also they are very rarely used on websites.


Many Native American groups have reached a sufficient economic prosperity working in woodworking and textile industry, construction and tourism, but, despite this, a discrimination against those who speak an Indian language is so far developed in Mexico. For the main part of the indigenous population the land is still the main element in the life; a high percentage of natives live in rural areas and depend on agriculture. Roughly speaking, the development and the fate of the majority of Mexican indigenous population are essentially subordinated to the policy of distribution and management of the land.

Traditionally, the Indian children receive their first knowledge from their mothers and grandmothers. The modern descendants of the Aztecs, Mayas and other indigenous tribes usually study in the bilingual schools, and the Ministry of Education of Mexico provides free the textbooks for them.


In the state of Sinaloa, in 2001, the first Indian University has appeared – the Autonomous Indian University of Mexico. The young people from different ethnic groups, not only of Mexico but also of Nicaragua and Ecuador are graduating here. The University also conducts research in the field of social development, is engaged in projects dedicated to the ethnic revival and the development of communities.

The natives of Mexico piously preserve their traditions, knowledge and culture. However, often they find themselves below the poverty line. Many indigenous people of the country suffer from a lack of drinking water or its poor quality, 90 % of their houses so far for use a wood or a coal for heating and cooking. The outbreaks of cholera and malaria are frequently observed among Indians, and the mortality rate of women in childbirth or the postpartum period is high among them too. The government tries to pay more attention to indigenous troubles, every year allocating substantial funds to solve them.


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Contact information

T. +52.55 5668 3255, +52.55 5668 3146 


Av. de Las Fuentes 170, Col. Jardines del Pedregal 01900 Mexico DF