The team captain of Peru’s selección nacional was just trying to rep his set when he tweeted a message of support to Peru’s fans in Quechua on Sunday. But the simple heartfelt message (“We’re giving our all on the field so we can all be happy. Peru is a great nation!”) made headlines in Latin America after it got more than 3.7k retweets and 4k favorites from people proud to see the indigenous language – which has been in steady decline since the 18th century – get an international boost.
Pizarro was even honored for the tweet by representatives of Chile’s indigenous tribes yesterday, receiving a “toki kurra” – a stone piece that reflects leadership in Mapuche culture – and a game of palín.
The player, who was surprised at the impact his tweet made, confessed that he doesn’t know more than a few words in Quechua and that his teammate Edwin Retamoso had helped him write the message. But he affirmed the importance of keeping it alive, stating “Es un idioma nuestro. Debemos no perderlo.”
The quarterfinal game between Peru and Bolivia will be taking place in Temuco, which is Mapuche territory, and Pizarro promised to tweet a message in Mapuche if Peru wins.