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UK Linguistics Third Annual MLK Colloquium: Human rights, indigenous rights, and the current crisis at the border

In honor of the memory of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. and the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, this talk highlights the place of attitudes towards indigenous languages in the formation and reproduction of the human rights violations seen in recent events involving Central American immigrants seeking refuge in the United States. In 2018, two children died in the Border Patrol custody and a Border Patrol agent shot a young woman in the head. All three were native speakers of indigenous (Mayan) languages from Guatemala. The talk will first outline the history and current state of the issues behind the current immigration by Guatemalan Maya. The central role of language in the creation and current perpetuation of human rights violations will focus on two related factors. The first issue is that of language access. The denial of language access is sustained through negative attitudes towards indigenous languages and the persistent myth of the “desperate need” for indigenous interpreters. The second major issue is the failure to recognize or legitimize indigenous traditions of language use needed in the interpreting context. These include the conventions for holding a conversation, expectations for who should speak in what context, and forms of politeness. Consideration of these issues suggests that equality for indigenous peoples will never be achieved unless we first come to recognize and respect the languages they speak.
Warning:  to accurately present reality this talk contains graphic content.
UKAA Auditorium, WTY Library

Dr. King and Chatino Political Discourse

Dr. King & Chatino Political Discourse, an event in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


In March 1965, after the bloody march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a sermon entitled, "Our God is Marching On!" This is political discourse trying to affect change in racial understanding towards greater equality while using religious themes and oratorical styles found in the pulpit. In this lecture by Dr. Hilaria Cruz, there will be comparisons on theme, repetition and parallelism to the political discourse found in San Juan Quiahije, Oaxaca, Mexico. Here in this remote place another racial minority to the greater Mexican society strives for equality using religion in political discourse.


An event in honor of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. sponsored by the UK Department of Linguistics

WTY UKAA Auditorium
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