How do speakers of indigenous languages actually use those languages once they come to the United States? Producer Michael Simon Johnson talks to different native speakers about their takes on their mother tongues. Irwin Sanchez writes poetry in the Aztec language of Nahuatl. Alma Delia García avoids speaking Mixteco whenever possible–despite it being her first language. And Pablo Blanco and Hector Zapata use their native Garifuna as a form of cultural expression.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Michael Simon Johnson spend most of his childhood making music and groaning when his parents put on NPR in the car. So naturally he graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Sound Design, moved to New York and made his way into public radio. As an engineer, he has worked for Afropop Worldwide, WNYC’s Radio Rookies, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. He commits much of his time to working on radio and multimedia projects but can often be found playing the bass, rock climbing, and traveling.