Cusco local government officials are creating new initiatives to promote the official use of the indigenous language Quechua. They want to recognize the historical and cultural significance of the Quechua language and its importance in the actual modern Peruvian society.
According to official numbers, approximately 3 million Peruvians speak Quechua. But the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio reports that the Academia de la Lengua Quechua thinks that the number is much higher, estimating that at least 14 million Peruvians speak Quechua, the language of the Incas.
According to El Comercio, 52% of children over the age of five learn Quechua instead of Spanish; 2007 statistics indicate that 48% of school-age children in the Cusco región speak Quechua as their first language.
One of the officials that pushes most changes is lieutenant mayor Silvia Uscamaita Otárola, who speaks Quechua fluently and says she is descendant of the fourth Inca, Mayta Cápac and a member of the Uscamaita clan.
One of her proposals is to create a municipal office in Cusco in which citizens can seek help in Quechua.
“We want to give our language the importance it’s due,” Uscamaita told El Comercio.