Reawakening: Reclaiming Chatino Prayers and Political Speech

Hybrid; Mar. 7-Mar. 9

Facilitation Team:

A headshot of a middle-aged woman with brown skin and black hair. She is framed around the sea.  Headshot of young man with pale skin and brown hair, wearing glasses and a suit jacket. White woman with mid-length brown hair and glasses; green plants in background. Headshot of young man with pale skin, brown hair, and wearing red glasses and blue headsets around his neck. He is standing in front of the Eiffel Tower.   Headshot of young woman with brown skin and black hair. She is holding a sign with words in the Chatino language. Headshot of young man with brown skin and black hair. He is wearing a blue shirt.
Hilaria Cruz
(in person)

Tuesday Shaw
(in person)

Clare Sullivan
(in person)

Cody M. Smith
(in person)

María Elena
Méndez Cortés
(on Zoom)

José Vásquez Canseco
(on Zoom)

Abstract:  Speakers of the Chatino language in Oaxaca, Mexico perform prayers and speeches—composed with parallelism, repetition, and metonymy, typical patterns of pre-Columbian poetic traditions—in all aspects of daily life. The performance and transmission of these art forms is quickly declining due to migration of youth to Mexican and US cities and because public schools in the region only teach Spanish. Twelve of these prayers were published by anthropologist Carmen Cordero Avendaño de Durand in her 1986 book, “Stina Jo’o Kucha (Our Sacred Father Sun).” The Chatino texts were presented in blocks of texts, written by hand in an orthography that contemporary Chatinos cannot read. Chatino language activists, faculty, and students will come together to translate these Chatino prayers into English and Spanish so that Chatinos can incorporate them in their daily rituals as well as allowing larger society a window to these magnificent oral traditions.

What Draft Deliverable will be Presented at the Conference Showcase? We will present translations of Chatino prayers and speeches and will also present plans for their publication.

Who Should Apply to Participate? 

  • We welcome speakers of any language, monolingual (English or Spanish) or bilingual. Bilingual English and Spanish ability is a plus.
  • Rhetoric, composition, writing, translation, and literature scholars
  • Illustrators to help envision ways to reach Chatino communities
  • Book designers
  • Linguists

What Do Participants Need to Prepare? [Note: The facilitation team will email all materials and instructions once all participants have been selected]

Acquaint yourselves the stages of the process and the examples we have prepared, as described in Q4 of the proposal (pp. 3-5).

What Happens After the Conference? We hope to be able to publish these texts and the analyses thereof both in book format and in journal articles.

Download the Complete Project Proposal for More Details