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Ch'orti'-Maya Survival in Eastern Guatemala: Indigeneity in by Brent E. Metz

By Brent E. Metz

Scholars and Guatemalans have characterised japanese Guatemala as "Ladino" or non-Indian. The Ch'orti' don't convey the most obvious indigenous markers stumbled on one of the Mayas of western Guatemala, Chiapas, and the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. Few nonetheless converse Ch'orti', such a lot not put on precise gown, and such a lot neighborhood corporations have lengthy been abandoned.

During the colonial interval, the Ch'orti' area was once adjoining to fairly shiny financial areas of principal the United States that integrated significant exchange routes, mines, and dye plantations. within the 20th century Ch'orti's at once skilled U.S.-backed dictatorships, a 36-year civil struggle from begin to end, and Christian evangelization campaigns, all whereas their inhabitants has elevated exponentially. those have had large affects on Ch'orti' identities and cultures.

From 1991 to 1993, Brent Metz lived in 3 Ch'orti' Maya-speaking groups, studying the language, carrying out family surveys, and interviewing informants. He came across Ch'orti's to be embarrassed about their indigeneity, and he was once lucky to be current and concerned while many Ch'orti's joined the Maya circulation. He has endured to extend his ethnographic examine of the Ch'orti' every year ever seeing that and has witnessed how Ch'orti's are reformulating their background and identity.

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Extra info for Ch'orti'-Maya Survival in Eastern Guatemala: Indigeneity in Transition

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While six interviewees had to be replaced because of their suspicions, others were honored to be chosen, and some requested that I replay the entire interview on the recorder. Women, who are generally not asked for their opinions and are unaccustomed to talking to men outside their family, were especially reticent. I managed to interview seventeen women, eleven of whom were members of a women’s cooperative in Pacrén who interviewed in each other’s presence. I chose six interview topics according to common Ch’orti’ concerns: 1) perceived differences between the remembered past and the present; 2) the problems and potential solutions in their community; 3) politics and politicians; 4) emigration; 5) organized religions; and 6) the long-term future.

Dozens of fleas hopped inside his bloodspeckled bag, and we did our best to rid them from our spotted socks and underwear. For breakfast, another mountain of tortillas and beans, and a hardboiled egg for the guests only. It was a chore getting them down, but we did our best not to offend Pedro and his family. Only much later did I learn that guests are always served the maximum amount of tortillas that they could possibly eat and are not expected to finish them. After all, the kids, the women, and the animals have to eat, too.

Strong willed, self-righteous, and unabashed to say what was on her mind, she became a tremendous source of information about Jocotán’s past and current townspeople’s sentiments towards Ch’orti’s. But more than an informant, doña Tonia was a grandmother to me, caring about my health 24 Chapter One and sharing my concern for Ch’orti’s. Though her supplies were limited, I made it a point to visit her regularly. Of all the Ladino townspeople, the most near and dear to me were the owners of the Pensión Ramírez.

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