Indigenous Roots

The 9th, of August commemorates the International Day of World’s Indigenous People, which is to encourage the protection and promotion of their culture, land, and rights.  

Article 13 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states “Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their languages, oral traditions, writing systems and literatures. Further, it provides that States shall take effective measures to protect this right, including through interpretation in political, legal and administrative proceedings. Articles 14 and 16 state indigenous peoples’ rights to establish their educational systems and media in their languages and to have access to an education in their own language”.

According to the Forum of Indigenous Issues from the United Nations, indigenous people are less than 6% of the world population; however, they speak more than 4,000 of the world’s languages.  On the Caribbean side of Nicaragua, Central America, there are three native languages: Miskito, Rama, and Sumo.

Miskito is a Misulmapan language, which along with Sumo and Matagalpan, comprises this linguistic family. It is spoken by almost 150,000 people in the North and South Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua and the eastern coast of Honduras, both Central American countries. 

Moreover, the Miskito language uses the five vowels, most of the consonants can be voiceless, nasal etc., It has present, past and future tenses, uses adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns. 

Furthermore, in a sentence, a verb is regularly located at the end, and the subject, if a noun phrase, usually precedes objects and constituents, for example, Yang Honduras ra iwisna (I live in Honduras), Yang wan sna witin ra yabaia (I want to give it to him/her).

My ancestors

I was born and grew up in an intercultural environment. At home, I learned my mother tongue (English Creole), and a second at school (Spanish). I also understand Miskito (fairly), which is my ancestor language. 

Part of my family tree is from Karata, which is a Miskito community approximately 40 minutes away from Bilwi, North Caribbean of Nicaragua by an outboard motor. It is located in front of a lagoon by the same name. 

My great-grandparents Merehildo Thompson and Rosina Nelson were from this community. Merehildo was one of the founders of the community, a pastor of the Moravian Church and wihta (judge) of the community. Rosina supported him with his duties, but also she was a midwife.

This is my indigenous roots which I am proud to share with you. If you are an indigenous woman, I would like you to embrace, learn, and share it with others. 

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