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Being akäts and other forms of identification for Mixe people

The Mixe refers to themselves as people that speaks the language of the mountains

If you are not a born and raised speaker of the language of the mountains, you are an akäts. This means that you could be from México, USA, Paris, or other places, and you will be the same for people of the Mixe community. The Mixes speak the language called ayuuk, which has many variants in the area where the community settles. Being identified as an akäts by the Mixes feels like a reflection of how we –the outsiders- named them. "Mixe" is a word that derives from the ayuuk "mixy," which means "men." The way they refer to themselves is "Ayuukjä’äy," which means "people that speak the language of the mountains."   

A way to identify the community members is by the language; they can be outside their community, and if they find someone who speaks it, they know it: they are Ayuukjäa’äy. All the other people in the world are akäts, which means "no mixe," as simple as that; with that word, they know we do not belong. This word does not have a negative meaning; it is just a way of identifying those who have the same language, practices, traditions, and beliefs and those who don't. Having a word for others that does not have bad implications is marvelous since it helps the community better approach the rest of the world; it talks about the ability to identify themselves and commute with others.  

Having a word to define others is the first way to try to understand and is the first bridge we build. After this step, we can start to find the differences between us, and if respect is part of the equation, then the opportunity to get to know new perspectives is open. We do not need to be the same, but we need to have the same amount of respect. History has let us know what happens when nations see the differences as something negative, and especially what happens when they believe that the other is lesser. Instead, the history of small nations that coexist and see the other simply as other, such as the Mixes do with the rest of the indigenous communities surrounding them in the two states where they are settled, gives us a different perspective.   

Being an akäts, being another, should be an invitation to get closer to the Mixe community, knowing that they have a different way of understanding and living life. This should also apply to all those other communities we are not a part of; we should approach them from a neutral perspective, not a negative one because they are all just others.   

We chose this word because this concept of the "other" will play an essential role in the Bodies of the Sand saga. The Kawistecos will have to encounter other nations, and from those encounters, they'll change. If you want to know how, don't miss out on this amazing series we are preparing.   

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