NPR: Peruvian actress takes a stand with Quechua language

"In 2009, when the Peruvian film The Milk of Sorrow won top honors at the Berlin Film Festival, lead actress Magaly Solier did something surprising — she chose to accept the award by singing a song in Quechua, a common indigenous language of Peru.

Indigenous people make up more than half of Peru's population and about half of Peruvians live in poverty, yet it has long been run by a small elite. But that's beginning to change as Solier and others with indigenous roots move into the cultural and political spotlight.

Solier grew up in a family of Quechua farmers in Peru's highlands. Whether speaking or singing, she often calls on Quechua in addition to Spanish, but Solier says she was initially cautioned against speaking Quechua in public.

"People thought that I would be laughed at," Solier says. "My family, my friends — they told me, 'Don't speak in Quechua. You'll be humiliated; you'll get knocked down; you'll be made fun of.'""

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Rise Of Indigenous Actress Marks Change In Peru (NPR 6/24)

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