In Northern Peru, near the Tigre river and Aucayacu River in the state of Loreto is the home of Taushiro people. They numbered in the thousands but after an epidemic disease that ravaged the population in the sixties, and many who have married monolingual Spanish speakers, the Taushiro language is nearly extinct. The New York Times put together a short documentary and profile of Amadeo García García, the only person left who speaks the language. “The entire fate of the Taushiro people now lies with its last speaker, a person who never expected such a burden and has spent much of his life overwhelmed by it.” The accompanying article chronicles his life and explains why none of his five children speak the language that will likely die with him.
The short doc The Last Man to Speak His Language (by Nicholas Casey, Ben C. Solomon, and Taige Jensen) starts off as a language lesson, with García speaking words in Spanish followed by the Taushiro translation. “Madre, iño. Padre, iya,’” he rattles off. A filmmaker’s sterile voice narrates the film. He explains why they took the trip to the Amazon in Peru, in search of the last speaker of Taushiro and what they find once they meet him.
Watch the six-minute short documentary below.