Culture

Learn A Little Bit Of Nahuatl With These Informative TikTok Language Lessons

Nahuatl is an indigenous language that has been spoken in Central Mexico since the seventh century. The language comes from the Aztec people who called southern Mexico and part of Central America home. Xochitl Hernandez is here to break down the indigenous language one TikTok video at a time.

Xochitl Hernandez is here to teach you a little bit of the Nahuatl language, starting with her name.

@fiercebymitu

Here is what my name, Xochitl, means in Nahuatl, a language from the Aztec indigenous people whose roots are in Mexico. #FamiliaLatina #Aztec #hhm

♬ MI MUNDO – Nomad & Lola

In the first post about the Nahuatl language, Xochitl breaks down her name, which means flower. As Xochitl explains, xochi is the word for flower and the -tl added to the end makes it a noun. It is probably best to watch the TikTok in full to get the full lesson.

Indigenous languages are having a moment as people are trying to bring back parts of their ancestral heritage. DuoLingo, the language-learning app, includes two indigenous languages in its arsenal. On the app, you can now study native Hawaiian, also known as ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, and Navajo, also known as Diné bizaad.

Of course, she teaches you how to say mom and dad.

@fiercebymitu

Nahuatl lesson: learn how to say mother and father in Nahuatl, the Aztec language! #FamiliaLatina #hhm #Nahuatl #indigenouslanguage

♬ MI MUNDO – Nomad & Lola

These are two very important words in anyone’s vocabulary. The Latino family unit is one of the most important things in Latino culture. We all have family members we see regularly and talk to even if we don’t like them. Why? Because that’s just how it is because Latino families stick together.

Don’t worry. She made sure to include a lesson on possessive prefixes.

@fiercebymitu

Welcome to another Nahuatl lesson with @xoxochimilca ! Let’s learn about possessives (my, your, our). #FamiliaLatina #hhm #Nahuatl #learnontiktok

♬ MI MUNDO – Nomad & Lola

Possessive prefixes are very important. It is a way to say if something is yours, theirs, ours, etc. For the Nahuatl language, the possessive prefixes are attached to the front of the word to differentiate. It is very similar to the Spanish and English languages in how they are used and presented.

The prefixes are “no-“: my, “mo-“: your (singular), “i-“: his/hers/its, “to-“: our, “amo-“: your (plural), and “im/in-“: their.

Xochitl even broke down terminology for Día de los Muertos.

@fiercebymitu

Feliz #DiaDeLosMuertos ! Today’s Nahuatl lesson is on the word Zemoalxochitl! #HolidayTikTok #DDLM

♬ MI MUNDO – Nomad & Lola

Día de los Muertos is a very popular holiday throughout Mexico and some parts of Latin America. Xochitl breaks down the most important term from Día de los Muertos, the marigold flower. The flower is commonly known as calendulas in Spanish but are called zempoalxochitl. Zempoal means 20 and xochitl means flower. So, literally is means 20 flower but Xochitl explains that it means more like flower of many petals.

Make sure you keep checking the FIERCE by mitú TikTok to keep learning some Nahuatl on your downtime.

READ: This Indigenous Tik Tok Star Gained a Massive Following By Showing Off the Beauty of Her Culture

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Miami Student Becomes First Latino DACA Recipient To Become A Rhodes Scholar And He Says He Owes It All To Elementary School Teacher

Things That Matter

Miami Student Becomes First Latino DACA Recipient To Become A Rhodes Scholar And He Says He Owes It All To Elementary School Teacher

Esta Pratt-Kielley / AFP / Getty

When we look back at our time in elementary or middle school, how many of us distinctly remember a special teacher or school official who went out of their way to help us?

Sure, for many of us school wasn’t always the best place. From teasing and bullying to stress over grades and homework, school can be a stressful place. But it’s also a place often filled with caring, compassionate teachers hoping to build our next generation of Americans.

One of those Americans is Santiago Potes, a DACA recipient originally from Colombia who has just been named a 2021 Rhodes Scholar – the first Latino DACA recipient to earn such a distinction.

Santiago Potes has become the first Latino DACA recipient to become a Rhodes Scholar.

Over the weekend, the Rhodes Trust announced its lineup of Rhodes Scholars and among them is the first ever Latino DACA recipient – Santiago Potes, a 2020 graduate of Columbia University.

In their announcement, the Rhodes Trust wrote, “Santiago has been a teaching or research assistant for leading professors in physics, philosophy, social psychology and neuroscience, and won numerous college prizes for leadership as well as academic performance. He is widely published on legal issues relating to DACA status, was one of the DACA recipients featured in a brief filed with the Supreme Court to preserve DACA.”

Today, Potes works as a full-time paralegal for a Wall Street law firm and is the head teaching assistant for a physics class at Columbia. He’s also a foreign policy expert who speaks nine languages and plans to study international relations during his two-year program in England.

“I really just want to protect  the United States because it really is the only country that I know, and I think that my skills and languages and history and political science could be best used in such a career,” added Potes.

Potes traces his success back to an elementary school teacher, herself an immigrant.

In an interview with CNN, Potes says that he owes all of his success and determination to an elementary school teacher that he saw twice a week from second to fifth grade. “She was one of the biggest blessings that I’ve had in my entire life so far,” he said.

“My parents didn’t go to college. My parents had me when they were 16 years old. So, she really became kind of like my first mother figure actually. She went out of her way to teach me a rigorous education,” he added.

He said he would not have reached this level of success if Esteva had not told him from an early age that she believed he could do great things. For her part, Esteva said she just spotted what was already innately in Potes as a child. “I planted a seed in fertile soil. You took care of a plant. You are the one who made it possible.”

Esteva is a Cuban refugee and immigrant to the United States herself. She said it means even more to have teacher and student, both Latino immigrants and refugees, two generations of opportunity and success in the United States.

His story is one that many in the undocumented community can relate to.

Although Potes had to overcome serious struggles to follow his dreams, overcoming homelessness and a difficult home life, he owes his future to his time spent in the classroom.

Like so many in our community, Potes came from parents who both worked to provide for the family. They themselves were young, undocumented parents. His dad washed cars. His mom worked at a major chain supermarket.

“I loved school because it got me out of the house, which wasn’t a good environment, both my parents were really, really young when they had me, and they just didn’t like me” said Potes.  “It was because my teachers became like maternal figures for me.”

It was around Thanksgiving, years ago, when the family was awakened by an early morning banging on the front door to their cramped studio apartment from what he later came to find out were U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

The 12-year-old managed to grab his school bag and the family escaped through a backyard and were later  picked up by one of his father’s Colombian friends, then taken to a residence where he, his younger brother and parents stayed on a couch for more than a year.

Although Potes is the first Latino DACA recipient to win a Rhodes Scholarship, he’s not the first DACA student.

Although many people associate DACA recipients with being undocumented Latino migrants, that’s not the case. In fact, the first DACA recipient to be named a Rhodes Scholar was Harvard University student Jin Park, of South Korea.

Park, 22, arrived in New York City with his parents from South Korea when he was 7 years old and grew up in Queens, N.Y. Park studied at Harvard working toward a degree in molecular and cellular biology with a minor in ethnicity and migration rights.

“I’ve proposed two master’s degrees for my studies at Oxford: one in migration studies, the other in global health science and epidemiology,” Park says. “I want to do those two degrees and come back and hopefully work in the context of public health department … [to] implement evidence-based policies to improve and work on immigrant health.”

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Latinas Share Indigenous Sheroes They Admire

Fierce

Latinas Share Indigenous Sheroes They Admire

JOHAN ORDONEZ / Getty

There’s no doubt that the ongoing health and wellbeing of our planet, even despite the sickly state that it is in currently, can be credited to the work of Indigenous women. Women of indigenous descent have long cared for our environment and the people around them. As leaders, indigenous women have managed to prevail and continue despite the persistent attempts to keep them down and stifle them.

Sadly, these women who should be cherished and honored, face extreme violence and civil rights violations. And yet, they still strive to achieve success and health for their communities despite being overlooked and underrecognized.

We asked Latinas on FIERCE about Indigenous Sheroes they admire so that we could learn more about them.

Check out the answers below

“Rigoberta Manchu. You?” –eleanor_rigby_86

“Lila Downs!”- gitanagatana

“Shima, my mom, is my Indigenous Shero. She grew up speaking only Navajo and was raised in traditional Navajo home. She Was taken at 8 to boarding school and punished till she learned English. Graduated high school and college. She retired from the state of Oklahoma as a child social worker and worked for a few more years as a sexual abuse advocate. Her and my dad have been married for 47 years, have four successful children and grandchildren. My mom experienced abuse, prejudice, hunger, poverty and fought for the life she wanted. She endured these snd many more hardships with a smile and kind heart. She is still the most loving and forgiving woman I know. She is my constant cheerleader, my best friend, and an example of unconditional love. Her family and home has been her joy. I was blessed that she chose me to be her daughter. My mom blesses my life daily. I would not have the life and adventures of she wasn’t always telling me to “just do it” or “go for it.” Ahe’hehe shima.” –cheebah73005

“Rigoberta Menchu.” –sule_recinos

“La Malinche.” –mdxlvi

“My great grandma Mary.” –brianaya6

“My grandma Natividad, the strongest woman I know.” –sara__tineo

“My grandma Severina.” –_mccbr

“Debra Haaland!” –robyn.degrasse

@rigobertamenchu, an Indigenous feminist and human rights activist in Guatemala who has tirelessly fought for the rights of Guatemala’s Indigenous People during and after our Civil War. She’s an admirable woman.” –nuschb

@raynaespinosa_ she will literally take her shirt off her back to help others. She is always there to fight for everyone’s rights she will do whatever it takes to make her voice heard! I admire her strength and I admire how she is not afraid to show her roots and educate others.” –mitchitymitch

“Gabriella Caźares-Kelly from @indivisibletohono21h.” –soniarita.az

@_cierrraaa a dear friend in law school, whose smile would make my day. Just wanted her to know that I think she is amazing! And I miss her!” –_ashlyndarling

@barb_hartzell You are that badass woman I admire! Miss you and Bunny!”- hildanucete

“Yes @helenknott05 . Strong , activities , poet, and writer.” –her_trademark

“Maestra Grace of @curanderismohealingart.” –elizagboquin

@tiffanyy_rae makes me feel more connected to my roots.” –mayracarrillo3

@guajajarasonia from Brazil.” –la_licorne_en_velours_

@illmaddocks she is an amazing person I met years ago.. who’s always educating about her roots and always representing her tribe..I have so much love for her and admire her dearly.” –gritona

@nikitaelyse you go girl 🙌🏼 you’re not “something else” to us.”  –trustisnotlost

“My maestra and friend @lzch0522 She has taught me so much about our culture and is an advocate for people’s rights. She isn’t afraid to make her voice heard.” –pelagio_c

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