A deerskin-lined ball used in pelota mixteca. Photo: DIMORU
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Indigenous game helps arrivals, new and old, preserve traditions

A ball game that has been played in Mexico for centuries gives indigenous people a way to maintain their traditions in the United States, The New York Times reports.

The game is known as pelota mixteca, with Mixtec referring to the indigenous people who live in and around Oaxaca in western Mexico. But the sport is also being played in California, where immigrants, both new and more established ones, can speak their Native languages, share information and build their communities.

“My dad first brought me out here when I was 17, but now I come on my own and I bring my children,” Jorge Cruz, who speaks Zapotec, told The Times as game was underway in the San Fernando Valley. “He would always tell me that this was one of the ways that we could preserve our culture.”

The game has become so prevalent that various organizations host regular tournaments in California. Players come from as far away as Texas and Mexico to compete twice a year, The Times reported.

Nearly 150,000 people from the Oaxacan area of Mexico reside in California, according to the University of California Los Angeles.

Read More on the Story:
How One Sport Is Keeping a Language, and a Culture, Alive (The New York Times March 13, 2018)