share

December 21, 2012, the end of the Oxlajuj B’ak’tun cycle of 5,128 years—not the end of the world, as commonly, falsely interpreted—is fast approaching, and for Maya in Guatemala, that means it is time to start celebrating. To commemorate Oxlajuj B’ak’tun, the Waqib’ Kej Indigenous Youth Council held a festival of art, music, and dance on September 22 on the grounds of the ancient Maya city of Iximche, outside modern-day Tecpan, Guatemala. Iximche was the capital of the Kakchiquel empire, founded in 1465 and part of what archaeologists term the post-classical period of the Mayan empire. As Alex Ulul, community guide at the ruins, explains, “Post-classical is the term archaeologists use, but that implies an end to Maya civilization. We measure time in b’ak’tun. This city was built at the end of the 11th b’ak’tun.” Oxlajuj, meaning 13, is the last b’ak’tun. According to Maya priests, the next cycle begins again at 1.

The festival also marked the conclusion of a two-day conference for Indigenous youth focusing on a re-establishment of the State of Guatemala in this new era. “We have thought deeply about the reality that we’re living, and what we can propose to the state of Guatemala. We demand real change in this country,” said a presenter at the opening of the festival.

Indigenous artists, musicians, poets, and dancers gathered from across the country to represent, via artistic expression, what Oxlajuj B’ak’tun means for them. Eduardo Santiago Reyes, from San Juan Comalapa, won first place for his painting about Maya spirituality and hardships. “I am so grateful to have the chance to be here. Being involved in this movement and painting about these topics has been a huge challenge to me,” he said.

Reyes’ father forbids him from painting about injustices Indigenous Peoples have faced out of fear of repercussions. “Talking about these issues is like a death wish,” his father has told him.

But Guatemala’s Indigenous youth are ready to take on this challenge. “It’s our turn to construct a new government,” said Reyes. As a result of the conference, youth leaders published a statement demanding a state that reflects the multi-lingual and multi-ethnic Guatemala that Indigenous youth live in today. “Along this long historic path of struggle and resistance, we, Indigenous youth, are discussing, deliberating, and articulating our struggles, on the eve of Oxlajuj B’ak’tun, as a moment for a new dawn for the people,” the statement begins. A musician summed up the sentiment at the festival: “Seeing this many young people, working together for positive change for Indigenous Peoples in our country, gives me an incredible hope for this new era.”
 

Read the rest of our five-part series on 2012 at www.cs.org/2012.

Politics Affect Fiber Arts Development

The recent history of textile and fiber arts in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua reflect how life is changing dramatically for the people of those countries. Authorities who account for changes in the artisanry solely by citing foreign trade influence and industrialization have ignored how recurring political violence over the past 50 years has penetrated these societies and drastically altered cultural traditions.

Read more

Possible Sacred Aspects of the Chiapas Rebellion

The Harvard Chiapas Project was founded in 1957 under the aegis and with the cooperation of the Instituto Nacional Indingenista (National Indian Institute) directed by the late Dr. Alfonso Caso to describe the basic ethnography and to track and analyze the trends of change in Mayan communities of the Highlands of Chiapas (see Vogt 1990 for more details).

Read more

The 2015 Alice Zachmann Human Rights Award will be presented to the community media group Prensa Comunitaria (Community Press) by the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission (GHRC).

Read more

Haz clic aquí para la versión en español. 

Read more

Click here for the English version of this article.En este momento, tenemos desarrollos nuevos y emocionantes en nuestro Programa de la Radio Comunitaria. Hemos recibido tres subvenciones para hacer tres nuevos proyectos, las cuales van a proporcionar nuevas programaciones a las radios en nuestra red, fortalecer las conexiones entre las radios,  mejorar sus programas, y ampliar nuestra red para incluir emisoras en Belice y en El Salvador.

Read more

Project Retonos De Mais

The village of Cantel is located in the western highlands of Guatemala, in the department of Quezaltenango, 150 miles west of Guatemala City. Its population consists primarily of Mayan Indians who speak the Quiche/Kiche dialect, mostly small subsistence farmers who twice a year must supplement their meager incomes by traveling to work on large plantations in the southern coastal lowlands.

Read more

Since a report was released on April 16, 2015 by the International Center Against Impunity in Guatemala revealing a disturbing political scandal involving high ranking political figures, Guatemala has been politically unstable. From the resignation of the vice president to the continued protests demanding the resignation of President Otto Perez Molina, Guatemala approaches one of its hardest election years. Not since the 1950’s have the various ethnic and social populations of Guatemala united for a common cause. Preliminary elections are set to be held on September 6, 2015.

Read more

March 9-10, the Cultural Survival team completed our final of a series of exchanges between 12 community radio stations here in Guatemala.

Read more

Daniel Pascual is a 42-year-old Quiche defender of Indigenous rights, a well known activist and the current president of the Comite de Unidad Campesina (CUC). Daniel Pascual recently appeared at the Constitutional Court of Guatemala to hear the complaint filed by the president of the Foundation Against Terrorism, Ricardo Méndez Ruiz, accusing him of libel, slander and defamation.

Read more

Francisco Choco’oj Paau, a Q’eqchi’ Maya storyteller from Cobán, then in his late fifties, would take his time to prepare to tell a story. He would say his prayers; he would burn his (copal) incense. That’s because, these weren’t just stories, they were ancient legends; legends that had been passed down from generation-to-generation; told in a precise way; told in the same way; for hundreds, possibly thousands of years. Each legend held a custom, tradition, or particular insight into Maya beliefs and culture. Each legend also held a moral about Maya life.

Read more

Translated as “Young lady of Sololá” or “Beauty of Sololá”, Q’opoj Tz’olojyá is a tradition that has been maintained for over 40 years in the department of Sololá, Guatemala. It is not a beauty contest rather a competitive recognition of the strongest and well-rounded Indigenous women of Sololá.

Read more

On August 18-19, 2013, our team at Cultural Survival started our second round of 12 exchanges between community radio stations in Guatemala. Our exchange program provides the opportunity for horizontal learning between community radio stations. They are able to share stories, experiences, strengths and weaknesses in order to help each other improve the technical, thematic and relational aspects of their radio stations.

Read more

On July 10 Asociacion Sobriviviencia Cultural brought to a close several fruitful days of radio-to-radio exchange in Alta Verapaz. This project was carried out with the generous support of the Swift Foundation and with volunteers from Radio Planeta in San Marcos, Guatemala. An experienced team of the radio program staff and volunteers collaborated to visit Radio Kamalb’e located in the rural community of Chantaca, Radio Nimlajacoc from the community of Nimlajacoc and Radio Tzuu Talq’a in the community of Chisec.

Read more

On August 11, 2013, Radio Ixchel, one of the most successful community radio stations in our Guatemalan community radio network, is celebrating 10 years on the air. Radio Ixchel is located in Sumpango, Sacatepéquez, a quaint municipality located about 45 minutes from the nation’s capital, Guatemala City. The station is located at one of the highest points in this hilly village, allowing it to broadcast to the entire 45,000 inhabitants of Sumpango.

Read more

On November 3, 2015 Radio Juventud staff, legal defense and supporters attended the hearing scheduled by the Sololá District Court to determine the legality of the radio. Last December 2014, Radio Juventud was raided by representatives of the Public Ministry and National Police which resulted in confiscation of all equipment and the community radio temporary shut down.

Read more

It has been over two years since the Community Radio Bill 4087 was introduced to the Guatemalan Congress in August, 2009, with a promise from President Alvaro Colom to give special priority to the bill, which would reform the current tele-communications law to include the category of community radio as a legitimate use of radio frequencies.

Read more

guCultural Survival Guatemala Radio Project Content Director Jorge Molina is training 60 volunteers in monthly workshops in four locations around Guatemala. Over the course of nine months (July 2007-March 2008) the workshop participants will write, act, record, and produce a total of eight episodes of radio dramas focused on health and the environment. All eight of the episodes will be aired on 168 community radio stations reaching an audience of approximately 3 million listeners.

Read more

On March 19, 2015, members of Radio Snuq Jolom Konob, alongside ancestral leaders, community elders, and various human rights organizations, took to the streets demanding that the town’s mayor re-open the radio premises in Santa Eulalia, Guatemala. Supporters and radio members gathered in front of the municipal building demanding to speak with the mayor to resolve this issues.

Read more

This month marks the 12th anniversary of Radio Xob'il Yol Qman Txun, Cultural Survival's community radio station partner in Todos Santos Cuchumatan, Guatemala. During the celebration, the executive board gave special thanks to their major partners and commemorated those involved in the station who have passed on.

Read more

Re-education and Relocation in Guatemala

Saraxoch Last year, the road crew working about a mile outside Saraxoch told us the inhabitants there were guerrillas; that the army kept them under tight control because, fooled into taking up arms, they had killed a lot of people; who knew how many? they added. The civil patrol stationed at the entrance to the village would not let us past the pole hung across the road to block the entrance, except to those with permission from the military.

Read more

The legalization of community radio stations has been an on-going struggle for Indigenous communities in Guatemala for almost 20 years. Community radio stations operate in the fear of being raided by the Guatemalan Public Ministry because the current telecommunications law does not allow for non-profit community radio—despite its guarantee in the 1996 Peace Accords, the Guatemalan Constitution, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Read more

On 19 July 1981, Mexico returned 1,855 Guatemalan refugees to their homeland.(°) Only 46, including 31 children, were given asylum. This was not the first time that Guatemalan Indian peasants fleeing the army's terror had crossed the borders en masse, nor was it the first time that Mexico had refused to grant them refugees status. Nonetheless United Nations sources and humanitarian organizations estimate that up to 70,000 Guatemalans might be in Mexico.

Read more

On July 7–8, 2012, members of 15 community radio stations partnering with Cultural Survival’s radio network across Guatemala gathered for a workshop in the Mujb’ab’l Yol training center in San Mateo, Quetzaltenango. The workshop focused on the difficult topic of historical memory of Guatemala’s 36-year armed conflict, which claimed the lives of 200,000 mostly Indigenous people. With the goal of using self-expression as a tool to alleviate trauma, participants wrote and

Read more

Edward F. Fischer and Carol Hendrickson’s new ethnography, Tecpan Guatemala: A Modern Maya Town in Global and Local Context, transcends the boundaries of traditional anthropological case study. They craft neither a romantic story of a victimized Maya progeny nor an esoteric and completely case-specific study.

Read more

Review: The Struggle for Indigenous Rights in Latin America

The Struggle for Indigenous Rights in Latin America is a collection of seven separate country case studies and is the result of a 2003 conference at Cochabamba that discussed the diversity of indigenous struggles throughout the region. The subject countries are Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, and Mexico.

Read more

Reviving Kaqchikel Language in Sumpango, Sacatepequez

Has clic para version en Español.

Read more

Rhyming for My Ancestors: Tz’utu Kan

Hailing from what the Maya consider the bellybutton of the Universe—Lake Atitlan in the central Guatemala highlands—Tz’utu Kan is a hip-hop artist who lays down rhymes in the ancient Mayan languages of Tz’utujil, Kakchikuel, and Quiche. He is also a member of the group Balam Ajpu, which means “Jaguar Warrior” or “Warrior of Light.” Balam Ajpu represents duality, the balance of light and dark, male and female energy, and the return to a relationship with the cycles of nature.

Read more

On February 11, 2009 Cultural Survival co-hosted a media conference entitled “Solving the Problem of Pirate Radio Stations.”  Panelists included: Dr. Frank La Rue (UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Speech), Dra. Rigoberta Menchu  (1992 Nobel Peace Prize laureate), Angelica Cubur (Volunteer, Radio Ixchel), Representative Marvín Orellana (UNE party and Ponente of Community Radio Law), Representative Walter Felix (URNG) and Representative Juan Alcazar (Partido Patriota). The event was also organized with help from COMG, the Consejo de Organizaciones Mayas de Guatemala.

Read more

Roots of the Rebellion in Chiapas

How are we to understand the rebellion in Chiapas? Did it arise from the generalized poverty of peasants in Mexico's neglected south, as many press reports claim? This paper explores the more complex background of the rebellion, of peasants who are much more differentiated than is acknowledged in press reports, and of a region that is fully articulated into the economic and political changes affecting Mexico as a whole.

Read more

Two members of our Free, Prior and Informed Initiative (FPIC) team in Guatemala travelled to Panama and Costa Rica for three weeks this month to spread the word about the program to Indigenous communities in the two countries.

Read more

Pages