Population, Language and Education
In Las Marias, a few Miskito People started to intermarry with the Pech
about forty years ago. Because of the influence of the church (in Spanish and
Miskito only) and then later on the bilingual school (Miskito and Spanish), their children
learned Miskito but not Pech.
Today 485 people live in Las Marias, 30 % are Pech, 10 % Miskito and 60 % Mestizo. Most
people speak Miskito, all speak Spanish, but as few as 20 people speak fluent Pech. (Both
the school and religious masses are done in Spanish and Miskito but not in Pech). Most of
the grand-children of the few Pech elders identify themselves as Miskitos as it is the
language they speak and for most of them half of their blood.
In Las Marias live four large Pech clans. Two large clans are divided into a dozen of
families, and two smaller ones make up another half-dozen. In the past ten years four
brothers and sisters moved from Olancho with their families and have re-invigorated the
cultural and language preservation hopes of a few elders.
With such a small population dominated by the Spanish and Miskito language which is
reinforced by church services and school classes, the Pech Language might disappear with
the generation of Don Ubense and Don Bernardo who are now in their late forties. The
family from Olancho seems to think that in addition to the Pech bilingual school project,
the village should invite more Pech families to move from Olancho.
The reality is that the Pech are one of the smallest indigenous groups in Honduras and
even in Olancho their language is disappearing quickly.