things that matter

This School Is Fighting Back Against Prejudice And Using Its Uniforms To Empower Indigenous Students

ElUniversal / Instagram

In an effort to preserve Mayan heritage and help Maya students embrace their identity, a school principal in Mexico has instituted a unique dress code for students to instill pride in their traditions.

Students at the Ignacio Allende primary school in the Yucatán now have the chance to channel their identity at school.

As part of a program instituted by the school principal, each and every Monday the students get to come to class in traditional dress.

The formal skirts, pants and dress shirts give way to white guayabera shirts and pants for boys and the colorful and skillfully embroidered huipiles for the girls.

All too often Indigenous communities are made to be invisible.

The government is not interested in empowering native peoples, said May in an interview with the newspaper El Universal.

She went on to say “This is about maintaining and strengthening the indigenous identity in new generations, and having them wear the clothes that identify Yucatán and Maya culture is a way to do it.”

The move made both the students and their parents happy and was important because Mayan language speakers face discrimination in Yucatán.

In fact, the principal has required each of her nine teachers at the school to take a Mayan language course, so they can better teach their students.

Indigenous students have also benefited from a program that brings Maya-speaking science, research and literature professionals to share their experiences.

The decision has been met with overwhelming joy on social media.

Credit: @ajplus / Twitter

The fact that these children are being supported and encouraged to explore their Native identities is absolutely worth stanning for.

When the news first broke, people were calling it the best news of the year!

Credit: @mlocadelamaceta / Twitter

The program is still a success and if you ask me may still be in the running for best news of the year.

As Latinos, we take pride in our identity but even from within our own communities we can be told to ignore our Indigenous roots.

Credit: @ajplus / Twitter

Translation: Truly commendable! It is not about integrating Indigenous peoples but respecting them along with their own ways and customs.

Given the xenophobia all around the world, it’s so empowering to see children being supported and encouraged to explore their own Native identities.

READ: Mixe Author Yásnaya Aguilar Says Mexican Government Killed Off Indigenous Languages In Powerful Speech

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