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Tomb of Influential Early Mayan Ruler Discovered in Guatemala

December 10, 2012

By Ligia María

A jade pendant of a vulture discovered at the Maya site of Tak’alik Ab’aj.

(Photo courtesy Tak’alik Ab’aj Archaeological Project/Associated Press)

November 04, 2012. Archaeologists in Guatemala have discovered the tomb of an influential early Mayan ruler. The tomb of King K’utz Chman was found by researchers in June but not announced until October 25 because it took them that long to verify the grave belonged to him.

 

K’utz Chman, a priest, is said to have ruled around 700 B.C. in Retalhuleu in southwestern Guatemala. In his tomb archaeologists found ceramic pots and dolls and jade jewels including one jade necklace carved in the shape of a vulture’s head, which is a symbol that represented power and wealth in the Mayan culture. It was given to respected elder men.

 

“The richness of the artifacts tells us he was an important and powerful religious leader,” archaeologist Christa Schieber, coordinator of the project at the Tak’alik Ab’aj dig site, told Reuters. “He was very likely the person who began to make the changes in the system and transition into the Mayan world.”

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Maya in Belize Hope to Set Historic FPIC Precedent

December 5, 2012

By Ligia María

By Gregory Ch’oc (Q’eqchi’)

November 6, 2012.Imagine this scene: a bus hurdles over the dirt roads of thick, tropical rainforest in southern Belize. It travels from village to village picking up Maya who are panicked and confused about oil drilling on their ancestral lands. Instead of going directly to the meeting, the Maya must first listen to a two-hour presentation by the oil company. Once they finally arrive, they gather for a traditional blessing, which is how they start every meeting. They are told there is no time for that. In fact, they have only one minute. As the appointed representative, I start to speak. After 60 seconds, a government official, backed by police and military personnel, pries the microphone out of my hands. Apparently, the meaning of “consultation” is lost in translation from English to Q’eqchi.

 

The story I am about to tell is more than an ordinary parable: it is a tale with implications for a people’s survival or extinction. The Maya of Belize established the first legal precedent for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Now we are ready to do the same for the right of Free, Prior and Informed Consent.

 

The true beginning of this story is the morning in 1997 when several Maya villages woke up to learn that their ancestral land had been declared a national park—and that it had been so designated for three years. Community elders wondered why it had taken so long for the government to let them know. Five years later, they know that secrecy is official government policy on Maya land.

Guatemala: Indigenous Village Declares Internet Access a Human Right

November 29, 2012

By: Renata Avila

Original version, Spanish translation below

 Traducción al Español, abajo

By: Ligia María

August 3, 2012. In the indigenous village of Santiago Atitlan, Internet access has been declared “a human right” by both inhabitants and local authorities. Authorities are also implementing a plan to provide free community Wi-Fi to the entire population so that everyone can benefit from it and exercise their rights.

The concepts of community and sharing are entrenched in the daily life of indigenous people in Guatemala. Common spaces, open doors, collaboration and sharing are the main characteristics of these communities, especially among small linguistic communities such as the Mayan Tzutuhil indigenous group in the Highlands of Guatemala. As cultures evolve and adapt to new discoveries in science and technology, indigenous cultures are embracing new technologies and adapting their use to accord with traditional principles. Such is the case with Internet access.

The youth of Santiago Atitlan pro-actively use digital tools. Their programme I respond! and you? (Yo Respondo, y Tu?)  is broadcast via the Internet and local cable TV and promoted throughout social networks. There they host dialogues discussing local problems, such as recycling and other ecological issues.

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Mayans demand an end to doomsday myth

November 13, 2012

By: Ligia María

Original version, Spanish translation below

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 Traducción al Español, abajo

October 26, 2012 – Guatemala’s Mayan people accused the government and tour groups on Wednesday of perpetuating the myth that their calendar foresees the imminent end of the world for monetary gain.

“We are speaking out against deceit, lies and twisting of the truth, and turning us into folklore-for-profit. They are not telling the truth about time cycles,” charged Felipe Gomez, leader of the Maya alliance Oxlaljuj Ajpop.

Several films and documentaries have promoted the idea that the ancient Mayan calendar predicts that doomsday is less than two months away, on December 21, 2012.

The Culture Ministry is hosting a massive event in Guatemala City — which as many as 90,000 people are expected to attend — just in case the world actually does end, while tour groups are promoting doomsday-themed getaways.

Maya leader Gomez urged the Tourism Institute to rethink the doomsday celebration, which he criticized as a “show” that was disrespectful to Mayan culture.

Experts say that for the Maya, all that ends in 2012 is one of their calendar cycles, not the world.

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Guatemala: After massacre, real dialogue must follow investigation and prosecutions

November 7, 2012

By: Ligia María

Original version, Spanish translation below

 

 Traducción al Español, abajo

By: JOHAN ORDONEZ

While it’s a positive step that the investigation is proceeding into the tragic killings in Totonicapán, this tragedy could have been averted if the President’s dialogue with the region’s residents had happened earlier.

Sebastian Elgueta, Guatemala Researcher at Amnesty International

Proper consultation with Indigenous Peoples, rural workers and civil society groups is the only way the Guatemalan authorities can prevent a deadly pattern of violence erupting at protests, Amnesty International said today.

The call follows this week’s meeting between President Otto Pérez Molina and Maya Ki’che’ Indigenous leaders from Totonicapán, 150km north-west of the capital, in the aftermath of seven people being shot dead and more than 30 injured when security forces responded to a protest along the Pan-American highway outside the town earlier this month.

An army colonel and eight soldiers are currently facing trial in Guatemala City on charges linked to the killings.

“While it’s a positive step that the investigation is proceeding into the tragic killings in Totonicapán, this tragedy could have been averted if the President’s dialogue with the region’s residents had happened earlier,” said Sebastian Elgueta, Guatemala Researcher at Amnesty International.

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Guatemala: 7 Indigenous Protesters Killed in Totonicapán

October 26, 2012

By: Ligia María

 

Original version, Spanish translation below

 

https://i0.wp.com/static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2012/10/12/1350038437529/Protest-in-Totonicap-n-008.jpg

Traducción al Español, abajo

By: Renata Avila

At least 7 civilians were killed, up to 32 were injured, and 35 were intoxicated on October 4, 2012, when combined armed forces violently removed demonstrators from Cuatro Caminos (”four roads”), a well-known intersection of roads that go to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala City, Huehuetenango and Totonicapán.

Demonstrators blocked the road to protest the rising price of electricity in the area. They also demand a dialogue with the government to discuss their objections to the education and constitutional reforms proposed by President Otto Pérez Molina.

The demonstrators were representatives from indigenous communities from Totonicapan, an exceptional, mostly indigenous (90%) community in the Guatemalan highlands.

While demonstrations are common in the area, the number of persons killed and injured is highly unusual. There is evidence that members of the Guatemalan Army were carrying guns, although the Minister of Interior has denied it, arguing that the peasants killed each other, as Mario Rodríguez explains in his blog post “Declarations full of cynicism”

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GUATEMALA: Speaking Out on the Genocide of Indigenous Women

May 23, 2012

By: Ligia María

Original version, Spanish translation below

Traducción al Español, abajo

By: Juliana Rincón Parra

The 36 year long civil war (1960-1996) that ravaged Guatemala, left more than 200,000 people dead and at least 100,000 women raped: most of the victims were Mayan. Only recently have women started speaking out about the violence they suffered in hands of the Army and paramilitaries, and finally, thanks to Women’s Link World and The Center for Justice and Accountability, the sexual violence perpetrated against Mayan women is being investigated as part of the genocide proceedings taking place in Spanish tribunals.

The documentary The Invisible Genocide of Women, by photojournalists Ofelia de Pablo and Javier Zurita gives us the harsh reality of female survivors who tell disturbing accounts of abuse, torture and violence, and also the efforts to advance with the ongoing forensic and legal investigation in the indictment of former Guatemalan President Efraín Ríos Montt.

The 2008 documentary Women, Violence, Silence by Javier Bauluz brings light to the story of Manuela, a single mother who works in a family integration center in Verapaz, one of the areas most affected by the 36 year civil war that ravaged the country. It is through Manuela’s work that the reality of women’s situation in Guatemala comes through the light.

In a country where there is an average of two women murdered daily women are under constant threat:  the massive and organized violations they suffered during the conflicts, chauvinist violence, child abuse and discrimination based on gender and race are only some of the most important issues.

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Guatemala works on Barbies’ Indigenous Accesories and Wardrobes

May 1, 2012

By: Ligia María

 

Original version, Spanish translation below

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Traducción al Español, abajo

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The markets of crafts in Guatemala have chosen the imitation of Barbies but this time the dolls are dressed in multicolored suits, representing to several regions of the country.

According to merchants, these Barbies have had great acceptance in tourists. Their price is of $25 and the tourists do not consider it expensive.

The most common Barbie dresses are indigenous ceremonial clothes, their shirts are embroidered and have several multicolored designs.

The aim is to increase the sales on the handcrafted markets that are the boosters of this new idea. The manufacturers tell that to do every garment of the doll takes more than one day because is a handcrafted work.

The Guatemalan Barbies are similar to the Americans dolls, every piece of the wardrobe is handmade and they worry about the details of their clothes in order that the dolls could represent the regions of the country. (PLS)

Source: http://www.ecuadortimes.net/2012/04/17/guatemala-works-on-barbiess-indigenous-accesories-and-wardrobes/

Spanish version. Versión traducida al  Español

Guatemala elabora accesorios y vestuario indígena para las Barbies

barbies  Barbie

Martes, abril 17, 2012

Los mercados de artesanías en Guatemala han optado por la imitación de muñecas Barbies pero esta vez vestidas con trajes multicolores, representando a varias regiones del país.

Según los comerciantes, las Barbies han tenido gran acogida entre los turistas. Su precio es de $25 y los turistas no lo consideran caro. La Barbie más común viste atuendos ceremoniales de los trajes indígenas mayas, sus blusas tienen bordados y varios diseños multicolores.

El objetivo es incrementar las ventas en los mercados artesanales que son los impulsadores de esta nueva idea. Los fabricantes cuentan que hacer cada vestido de la muñeca lleva más de un día de trabajo artesanal.

Las muñecas guatemaltecas son similares a las estadounidenses, cada pieza del vestuario es hecha a mano y se preocupan por detallar a cada una de ellas para que puedan representar a las regiones.

Fuente: http://www.ecuadortimes.net/es/2012/04/17/guatemala-elabora-accesorios-y-vestuario-indigena-para-las-barbies/

The politics of language

April 27, 2012

By: Ligia María

 

Original version, Spanish translation below

Traducción al Español, abajo

by MarieRWI

March 9th, 2012

The end of the brutal Guatemalan Civil War in the mid-1990s marked a turning point for the country in many ways. The 1996 Peace Accord and 1995 “Accord on Identity and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” were landmark achievements at the time for their provision for indigenous (Mayan) language. The Accords acknowledge past discrimination based on indigenous culture (including language) and protect the right of Mayan people to live and work in their native tongues. Guatemala officially declared itself a “multi-ethnic, pluricultural and multilingual” state. Specific sections called for the constitutional recognition of indigenous languages in education, social services, government communications and legal proceedings. This also includes support for indigenous legal aid organizations, special legal defense services for indigenous women and other political protections.

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2012: End of the World?

April 8, 2012

By: Ligia María

Original version, Spanish translation below

Traducción al Español, abajo

February 17, 2012

Author:  Danielle DeLuca

In Momostenango, a small town in the highland region of Guatemala, the Quiche Mayan community did not enter the 2012 year dreading doomsday predictions. Instead, they’re gearing up for their biggest party yet.

Momostenago has a total of 10 sacred altars. On important days of the Mayan calendar, these prayer spaces are packed with Indigenous Mayans coming to make their offerings, pray, and celebrate special occasions, such as the initiation of the planting season, a marriage, a birth, or the opening of a new business. At each sacred site we visited on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, smoke was still rising from piles of smoldering ashes, surrounded by blackened clay pots, traditionally used to encircle the burning of different “offerings,” like essential oils, herbs, incense, corn, sugar, and colored candles. The popularity of the altars is evidenced by stores that have popped up at each site, selling the items used in prayer. Don Celso, the owner of one such store, said he receives visitors throughout seven days of the 20-day Mayan month; each prayer site has its own special use. On the hill in front of his store, people come between the days of Kawoq and Kame, to pray for fertility, for rain, or to communicate with ancestors.

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