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Indigenous Communities of Guatemala changed their authorities

February 5, 2010

By: Ligia María

Translated from Spanish; original version below.

Guatemala, January 1st, 2010.This Friday the indigenous of Guatemala according with their tradition and keeping an ancestral system, changed their traditional authorities.

Líderes indígenas en un acto público en Guatemala. (Foto: EFE)

Versión original en Español, abajo

On the first day of the year indigenous communities changed their traditional authorities in order to continue with their ancestral system, and informed the Latin press of this change.

Transferring the responsibilities of this charge of authority keeps the power and credibility on the indigenous authorities.

The indigenous in charge of these responsibilities do not stay always for a certain period of time; it may change every other year. There are more than twenty-four structures like this in the country, grouped according with ethnic characteristics.

Some of these structures stayed unaffected over time; others were rescued for their members in the last years in an effort to recover their traditional system.

Guatemalan Association of Mayors and Indigenous Authorities have explained that during the colonial period, official authorities were imposed on indigenous authorities, but ancestral authorities have survived and are reemerging.

However, there is no recognition by the government of these traditional structures, which are based on the Mayan Cosmo Vision, like solutions to conflicts, application of justice according to their beliefs, and transmitting cultural values.

Some authorities are integrated with the spiritual guides for their own right according with their birthdays of Mayan calendar, and other authorities are elected for indigenous authorities within the community.

Sometimes they do their activities in a coordinated way with government employees;   other times they can not work together because the indigenous authorities´ system has different methods, according to experts from the news agency, Prensa Libre.

Indigenous authorities are elected in communal assembly according to their credibility, honesty, experience of life, vocation of service, orientation and conciliation.


The period of power is between one and four years, even more, and the number of the charges is changeable too.

Spanish version. Versión en Español.


Guatemala, 1 Enero de 2010.  Coincidente con el primer día de año, comunidades indígenas de Guatemala cambiaron este viernes sus autoridades tradicionales para dar continuidad a un sistema ancestral con más amplitud al del oficial, informó Prensa Latina.

Puede encontrar esta noticia en español en el siguiente link:

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