Revaloran entre la niñez, la historia de la cultura mixteca
A story (in Spanish) about a program at a museum in Oaxaca to educate Mixtec kids about their history, pretty neat.
Random observation: it’s mentioned at one point that the kids are taught about the various jobs that people had back in the time that the codices were made. The job of scribe (escríbano) was apparently labeled “tlacuilo,” which is clearly an Aztec word. (Mixtec words don’t start with tl-.)
Kevin Terraciano’s excellent book gives a good picture of the interactions between the Nahua (Aztecs) and the Mixtecs during the (later) Colonial era: it seems that Nahua positions of authority deriving from pre-colonial expansions were continued and reinforced by the Spanish, who set up a bureaucratic system wherein Mixtecs learned to write Nahua simultaneously as they wrote whatever their local form of Mixtec was.
Presumably the word “tlacuilo” would have been borrowed at that point. But by then, we’re already talking about the (eventually huge) Latin-alphabet literature which came to be written by Mixtec scribes.
The codices themselves, of course, pre-dated all that. So it seems likely to me that there would have certainly been a Mixtec term that meant “scribe” to describe the people who developed and wrote the beautiful Mixtec writing system.
It’s funny, if you just glance at the literature around Mixtec history, you might come away with the impression that Mixtec looks curiously similar to Nahuatl. Nothing could be further from the truth: Mixtec looks very different from Nahuatl. The words tend to be short. It’s tonal. The sounds are very different. Etc., etc.