Hilaria Cruz

Reawakening: Reclaiming Chatino Prayers and Political Speech

A headshot of a middle-aged woman with brown skin and black hair. She is framed around the sea.

Hilaria Cruz is a linguist and native speaker of the Chatino language spoken in San Juan Quiahije, Oaxaca, Mexico. She is an Assistant Professor in the Comparative Humanities Department at the University of Louisville. Her research focuses on the documentation, reclamation, and analysis of endangered languages, especially Otomanguean languages. She has conducted work on tonal morphology, corpus development, ethnography of speaking, and has published children’s books in Indigenous languages. In collaboration with Gregory Stump, she is currently analyzing tonal verb inflection. She has also partnered with Chatino elders and accomplished speakers to document prayers, political speeches, and ceremonial discourse to analyze the poetic patterns embedded in this pre-Columbian, Mesoamerican style of speech. To promote literacy in Chatino and other Indigenous languages among youth, Hilaria has created, published, translated, and given away children’s books in the Chatino, Hupa, and Ojibwe languages.