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Ancient Mayan Tablet with Hieroglyphics Honors Lowly King

December 10, 2015

By: Ligia María

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A 1,600-year-old Mayan stone tablet describing the rule of an ancient king has been unearthed in the ruins of a temple in Guatemala.

The broken tablet, or stela, depicts the king’s head, adorned with a feathered headdress, along with some of his neck and shoulders. On the other side, an inscription written in hieroglyphics commemorates the monarch’s 40-year reign.

The stone tablet, found in the jungle temple, may shed light on a mysterious period when one empire in the region was collapsing and another was on the rise, said the lead excavator at the site, Marcello Canuto, an anthropologist at Tulane University in Louisiana.

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Indigenous women are raising their voices and can no longer be ignored

October 14, 2015

By: Ligia Recinos

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As a teenager, I joined fellow indigenous activists on Luzon, the Philippines’ largest island, to protest against the Chico dam project. The scheme would have displaced roughly 300,000 indigenous people from their ancestral lands. The leaders of the movement were all men, but women were also on the front line, risking their lives.

These were our lands too, and we women fought to defend them even when our activities were criminalized by the Filipino government. We didn’t give up until the government and the World Bank cancelled the project.

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El enigmático mapa cuadricular de una nueva ciudad maya en Guatemala

September 11, 2015

By: Ligia María

Su  área ceremonial se dispone de este a oeste para terminar con una triada de edificios. La zona residencial, por el contrario, se estructuraba de norte a sur.

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Una nueva ciudad maya ha sido descubierta en Guatemala. La gran aportación de este hallazgo ha sido la estructura de cuadrícula que sigue el asentamiento, un mapa que podría indicar a los expertos que fue construida bajo mandato de una figura muy poderosa. El enclave está ubicado en Nixtun-Ch’ichi (Petén, Guatemala), un lugar que fue habitado según las conjeturas entre los años 600 y 300 a.C. Aunque la zona se lleva explorando desde 1995, no ha sido hasta ahora cuando los arqueólogos dirigidos por Timothy Pugh han encontrado evidencias de la ciudad antigua.

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Court Upholds Mayan Indigenous Land Rights In Belize

September 9, 2015

By: Ligia María

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The Caribbean Court of Justice has ruled that indigenous land rights in Belize must be honored by the government.
The ruling upheld an earlier decision of an appeals court that gave the Maya people rights to land they have used and occupied for generations in the southern Belizean district of Toledo.

The ruling requires that the land be demarcated, protected, and officially registered by the government of Belize. It also dictates that the government of Belize abstain from interfering with the Maya’s land rights unless consent is given by the Maya people. In effect, the government of Belize is barred from issuing leases, grants, permits, concessions, or contracts authorizing logging, petroleum, mineral extraction, or any activity that would affect the Maya land rights.

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Guatemala’s Indigenous People Continue Fight for Justice as Rios Montt’s Trial for Genocide Resumes

September 1, 2015

By: Ligia María

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On January, 5 2015, Guatemala’s former president and general, Efrain Rios Montt, appeared before a tribunal where he faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity during his dictatorship in 1982-83. In May 2013 Montt was convicted for the massacre of thousands of Indigenous people during his regim

In a historic decision for Guatemala in May 2013, a court convicted Montt of genocide and human rights atrocities. However, the victory only lasted for a few days as Guatemala’s highest court moved quickly to overturn the decision, which raised many questions and disappointing eyebrows from various activist groups. The decision by the highest court of Guatemala was a slap and a punch to the suffering of hundreds of survivors who testified against the former general.

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Maya ancestry may help explain the high risk of diabetes in Mexico

August 28, 2015

By: Ligia María

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Mexico has one of the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in the world, with 12% of the population suffering from the condition, compared with 9% of people in the United States. The Mexican government is so worried that it recently declared a state of emergency and introduced a tax on soda and junk food. But a new study shows that some Mexicans may be at higher risk for developing diabetes, no matter how healthy their diets are. The reason may be their Maya ancestry, which carries with it genetic variations associated with the disease.

“This is an important finding, because it could provide us clues about how to tackle the disease and plan public health strategies,” especially for Maya-speaking people, says María Guadalupe García, a geneticist at the Autonomous University of Yucatán (UADY) in Mérida, who was not involved in the research.

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High Court Orders Belize to Recognize and Protect Maya Traditional Property and Rights

August 25, 2015

By: Ligia María

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On April 19th the Caribbean Court of Justice announced its judgment affirming the 2013 holding of the Court of Appeal of Belize that the Maya indigenous people of southern Belize have rights to the lands they customarily have used and occupied for many generations.

In the judgment, the court affirmed that these traditional land rights, belonging to 38 Maya villages in Belize’s Toledo District, constitute property as defined in the provisions of the Belize Constitution that generally protects property free from discrimination.

The court’s judgment, which was entered by consent of Maya parties in the case and the Government of Belize, will require the government to demarcate and officially register Maya communal lands, and protect them against incursions by outsiders. The Court accepted the government’s undertaking to adopt the necessary “legislative, administrative and/or other measures” to that end and, in the meantime, to refrain from and prevent acts that would adversely affect Maya land rights. The Court also ordered that, in 12 months, both the Maya communities and the Government present a report about implementation of the judgment.

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