Linguistic Motherwork in the Zapotec Diaspora: Zapoteca Mothers’ Perspectives on Indigenous Language Maintenance

  • Ramón Antonio Martínez
  • Melisa Mesinas
Keywords: Indigeneity, Multilingualism, Gender, Zapotec, Indigenous language maintenance


This article explores Indigenous Mexican mothers’ perspectives on multilingualism and Indigenous language maintenance in their children’s lives. Drawing on interview data from a larger qualitative study of language and ideology among multilingual children in Los Angeles, California, the article examines the perspectives of four Zapotec mothers who have children in a local public school with a Spanish-English dual language program. The interview data highlight what these women think and do with respect to the maintenance of the Zapotec language in the lives of their school-aged children. Critical Latinx Indigeneities and the feminist notion of linguistic motherwork are used to highlight the intersectional nature of these women’s efforts to construct and sustain indigeneity in diaspora.