To say that you’re indigenous is a dirty word for many people still. It implies that you have no education. But these days, our kids go to school and learn about many cultures, including their own. So now it’s the kids that talk to their parents and grandparents here, and tell them, ‘Look, your culture is important.’

Ted Lazaro is a computer programmer by day, but spends his evenings and weekends practicing Zapotec with his children. He spoke with PRI’s The World.

Today's Tumble: Keeping Immigrants' Native Languages Alive in the US

In Los Angeles recently, people from the small town of San Bartolome Zoogocho, located in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, honored their patron saint. There is a push among the community living in the US to preserve Zapotec, one of the indigenous languages spoken in southern Mexico.

Today on the Tumblr we’re posting about how people are keeping Zapotec alive in the United States. Keep an eye on our news feed or follow the tag #GlobalNation.


This is a scene from ‘The Caretaker’, the full film will be released with the Immigrant Nation online platform in summer 2012.

The Caretaker is a short film about the relationship between an immigrant caretaker and an elderly woman in the last months of her life. Joesy, a Fijian immigrant, works long hours providing live-in care for 95-year-old Haru Tsurumoto. Through intimate and quiet scenes, we explore Joesy’s complex relationship with Haru. The two respect one another, because at different times, both have felt like outsiders in the U.S. - Joesy as an undocumented immigrant who fears she could be sent back to Fiji, and Haru as a Japanese American who was sent to the internment camps during World War II.


The World’s @SoniaNarang has been using Instagram to tell the stories of immigrant’s first days in America. Follow her account to hear the stories of Sanaz Kavoosi from Iran, Toan Nguyen from Vietnam, Catalina from Mexico, Brigitta Balogh from Hungary, and Bhanu and Simran from India.

Thanks to the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) for inspiring us to collect stories from immigrants about their first days in the U.S.

Share your stories about immigrating to a new country with the hashtag #firstdays!

I always asked my parents about our indigenous background and they could never give me any answers. And it made me really angry to know that my parents had no concept of that.

Comic book artist Liz Mayorga, who sees art as a way to connect to her Mexican roots, told The World. Her comic “A Caxcan Guerrilla Takes Over the Awkward Girl” is about a tribe of indigenous people in her parents’ hometown of El Teul, Zacatecas. 


Sean Chen spent two and a half years in York County Prison while his asylum case was pending. The terms of his release allow him to work legally, but he needs to check in with immigration agents on a regular basis. He has been living in the United States for longer than he lived in China, and has no immediate family left in his native Fujian Province. Few people call him by his Chinese given name any longer – his wife and children know him only as Sean. Both of his sons are American citizens. Last June, Sean’s application to adjust his status to become a permanent resident, based on his wife having obtained US citizenship, was rejected; he is currently appealing that decision. Today, twenty years after the Golden Venture tragedy, there are still twenty men in addition to Sean Chen who were paroled by President Clinton in 1997 but were never able to regularize their immigration status. Some of them have been living under deportation orders since 2004. (Photo: Katja Heinemann)


Sonia Soares, 52, is a Brazilian house cleaner in the Boston area. She felt invisible, but gained confidence through mediation sessions that help domestic workers resolve disputes with employers. Now, she works as a mediator herself.