Oaxaca Native Literacy Project update

Sat, 29 Jan 1994 18:37:05 -0500

The following message was sent to me and I thought others would
find it interesting.

January 24, 1994

Oaxaca Update

This is the second update on the Oaxaca Native Literacy Project. If
you need background information, please request the first update.

Since 1987, the Oaxaca Native Literacy Project has been housed in
the offices of CIESAS-Oaxaca. CIESAS (for "Centro de
Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropolog!a Social") is
a network of government research centers in Mexico. The generosity
of CIESAS's administration, both in Mexico City and in Oaxaca, has
been a key factor in the success of the project so far.

With the generous help of the Jessie Ball Du Pont Foundation, the
project inaugurated it own building in Oaxaca on January 14, 1994.
Five members of the project, led by Jes#s Salinas Pedraza and
Josefa Gonz lez Ventura, have formed CELIAC, a not-for-profit
corporation dedicated to the preservation of indigenous languages
and cultures throughout the world. The acronym CELIAC stands for
Centro Editorial en Lenguas Ind!genas, A.C. The A.C. at the end of
the name stands for "asociaci"n civil," which means not-for-profit

CELIAC, then, is an independent, indigenous-language publishing
house and training center. The new building has sleeping
accommodations for 12, a kitchen, a living room, and computer work
space. An audiotape studio is being built so that authors can
record their work by voice as well as in writing.

CELIAC depends on three sources of income: 1) training programs, 2)
book sales and contract publishing, and 3) charitable

1) TRAINING PROGRAMS. Indigenous people from across the Americas
are invited to attend CELIAC's training course in writing books in
indigenous languages. Instruction is in Spanish and the training
generally takes at least two months. Three months is recommended.
Participants who spend three months at CELIAC often leave with a
book of their own writing in hand.

Participants who can afford it are expected to pay for the costs of
instruction, use of the machinery (including laser printers), and
room and board. However, financial assistance is available for
those who can not afford to cover the full cost themselves. If you
know of someone who might benefit from residence and training at
CELIAC, contact us at the address below.

its first book, N^a Kaa Iyo Yo Chi N^uu Chikua'a, by Josefa
Gonzalez Ventura, in cooperation with the government of the state
of Oaxaca. (On e-mail, we use the character combination N^ for the
Spanish enye.) The edition is in Mixtec and the Spanish translation
has just been published under the title La Vida Cotidiana de
Jicayan. Both editions are available on disk as well as in hard

Manuscripts for other books in indigenous languages are completed
and are being prepared for publication:

Cuentos y Leyendas Zapotecos, by Alredo Rios Belen, is ready for
publication in Zapotec and the Spanish translation is in progress.

La Historia del Dextho, by Jesus Salinas Pedraza is scheduled for
publication later in 1994, in both N^ahn^u and Spanish. This book
is based on Salinas's fieldwork in Dextho in 1985. At that time, he
was able to tape interviews with the elders of a N^ahn^u community
about their local history. Some of the elders recounted stories of
the Mexican revolution.

La Vida Religiosa del Mezquital, Salinas's work on N^ahn^u
religion, will also be published in 1994 in both N^ahn^u and
Spanish. The English translation of that volume appeared as Book IV
of Native Ethnography (H. R. Bernard and J. Salinas, 1989, Sage
Publications, Newbury Park, CA) but has never appeared in the
original N^ahn^u.

Books in Chinantec, Mazatec, Triqui, Totonac and other languages
are in preparation by current and previous authors at CELIAC. You
can support CELIAC by purchasing the books they are producing, or
by asking your library to purchase the books. In 1995, audiotapes
of CELIAC's books in indigenous languages will be available.

If you have a text in an indigenous language and would like it
prepared for publication, contact CELIAC at the address below.

If the sale of books and training programs is successful, then
proceeds will subsidize the distribution of indigenous-language
books at the community level and will provide subsidies for those
who can not afford the costs of residency and training at CELIAC.

3) CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS. CELIAC also depends on contributions
from foundations and from individuals. Tax-deductible contributions
in the U.S. may be made to CELIAC through the University of Florida
Foundation, Inc. Gifts of computer equipment are also needed, and
may also be tax deductible.

Find out how you or your university library can purchase CELIAC's
books, how you can make tax-deductible contributions to CELIAC, and
how you can help sponsor an indigenous author at CELIAC. CELIAC
does not yet have telephone or e-mail service. Write to CELIAC at
Apartado Postal 1530, Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico 68020, or at 1170 Av.
Ejercito Mexicano, Colonia Ampliacion Dolores, Oaxaca, Oax. 68020.
Or, for more information on the Internet, contact Russ Bernard
(UFRUSS@NERVM.NERDC.UFL.EDU) in the U.S or Scott Robinson