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First Nations

Venezuelan Parliament reflects on indigenous languages law

(14 January 2006) The Committee of Indigenous Peoples of the Venezuelan National Assembly presented a draft for an Indigenous Languages Law in December, 2006. It is intended to preserve the 34 native languages existing in the country.

According to the committee's president, Noelí Pocaterra, indigenous deputies are also preparing an Organic Election Bill for the election of indigenous representatives.

Thirty-four indigenous languages are spoken in the nation and we are obliged to pass legislation to preserve them, contrary to what happened in the past, Pocaterra explained.

She said that it is important for the indigenous population to learn Spanish and other languages, but without forgetting their own.

Regarding the election bill, the deputy said the complex legislation is related to the National Electoral Council but that the representation of the indigenous population is required in the National Assembly under the 1999 Venezuelan Constitution.

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