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

By Brent E. Metz

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

During the colonial interval, the Ch'orti' zone used to be adjoining to really brilliant fiscal areas of valuable the USA that integrated significant exchange routes, mines, and dye plantations. within the 20th century Ch'orti's without delay 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 discovered Ch'orti's to feel embarrassment about their indigeneity, and he was once lucky to be current and concerned whilst many Ch'orti's joined the Maya move. He has endured to extend his ethnographic study of the Ch'orti' every year ever considering and has witnessed how Ch'orti's are reformulating their historical past and identity.

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

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The census provided families with opportunities to ask me questions. Contrary to the image of indigenous peoples wishing to remain closed in their worldview, Ch’orti’s are very curious about the outside world. I felt obliged to reciprocate their survey information by responding to their tireless questions, even if by providing them information I adulterated the information they would later give to me. Many asked more questions about the United States and the rest of the world than I asked them, including topics of prices and wages, geography, travel distances (times), weather, agriculture, market systems, migratory labor, politics, modern weaponry, diet, language, housing, other indigenous peoples, subways, and Columbus, to name but a few.

They joked about spying on women. After ashamedly struggling through half of our allotted tortillas for lunch, Erich and I dozed off despite the hushed giggles of gawking children and relentless fleas. When Pedro came back from soccer practice, I assisted him with his math problems for the eighth-grade class he was taking through the Home Teacher (Maestro en Casa) program broadcast over the Catholic-sponsored Radio Ch’orti’. I was relieved at last that we could be of help rather than a burden, as our guilt about draining the family’s meager resources reached the point of refusing hospitality from Pedro’s silent, overworked wife.

The principal ports included Trujillo, Honduras (1524), Caballos, Honduras (1536), San Antonio de las Bodegas del Golfo on the shores of Lake Izabal (1549), and Santo Tomás de Castilla on the Bay de Amatique (1604) (Terga 1980:42, 61–64). 44 Chapter Two of land, and most of all, many became indentured hacienda servants. As hacienda peons, the Spanish hacendero provided lodging, food, clothing, a small salary, the payment of Indian tribute obligations to the Crown, and de facto protection from church obligations in exchange for their labor, usually herding cattle and sheep (Terga 1980:90–92).

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