Years ago, when Américo Mendoza Mori moved to Cusco to become fluent in Quechua, he struggled to find anyone willing to speak to him in the language. “By then, I already knew a lot of grammar but spoke very little,” he told Remezcla. “I couldn’t really improve my Quechua skills because many people in Cusco didn’t want to speak to me. Due to the stigmatization of the language, people would deny they knew Quechua.” Due to the discrimination and shame that Quechua brought to indigenous communities, younger generations rejected the language in some cases. In recent times, there has been a push to preserve one of the most widely spoken indigenous languages in the Americas. Now, Cusco is playing its part by incorporating the language into schools’ curriculum.

According to Peru.com, a regional ordinance will make it mandatory to teach the language’s Cusco-Collao dialect in Cusco schools. The ordinance makes it so that all schools – primary to university level – teach students how to speak, write, and read the language. It also recommends the prioritization of Quechua for any schools that confer degrees.

The decree is broken down into eight different articles, including one that calls for the recognition of Quechua – also known as Runa Simi – as a complete language. Though the legislation mostly focuses on schools, it also recommends that all public servants in Cusco have mastery of the language in order to better assist the indigenous populations. To learn more about the ordinance, visit El Peruano.