Experts on indigenous migration gather in Seattle

SEATTLE — A panel of American and Mexican experts on the growing migration of indigenous people from Latin America will hold a conference Friday at the University of Washington.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates 17 percent of the nation's farm workers are indigenous. In Western Washington, that estimate is as high as 25 percent.

Indigenous peoples are the descendants of the inhabitants that populated Mexico and Central America before Europeans colonized the region in the 1500's. They have distinct customs and traditions. Many speak limited Spanish - some not at all.

Event organizer Jorge Madrazo says there's a lack of knowledge in this state about the growing presence of indigenous communities, of their cultures and their problems.

The conference is the first joint venture between Mexico's largest university - the National Autonomous University of Mexico - and the UW.

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