Maya Market Women: Power and Tradition in San Juan Chamelco, by S. Ashley Kistler

By S. Ashley Kistler

As cultural mediators, Chamelco's industry ladies provide a version of up to date Q'eqchi' identification grounded within the energy of the Maya historic legacy. Guatemala's Maya groups have confronted approximately years of continuing demanding situations to their tradition, from colonial oppression to the instability of violent army dictatorships and the arrival of latest worldwide applied sciences. on the other hand historical past, the folks of San Juan Chamelco, Guatemala, have successfully resisted major adjustments to their cultural identities. Chamelco citizens embody new applied sciences, principles, and assets to reinforce their indigenous identities and keep Maya perform within the twenty first century, a resilience that units Chamelco except different Maya towns.

not like the region's different indigenous ladies, Chamelco's Q'eqchi' industry girls in attaining either prominence and visibility as proprietors, dominating social domain names from faith to neighborhood politics. those girls honor their households' legacies via continuation of the inherited, high-status advertising exchange. In Maya industry Women, S. Ashley Kistler describes how marketplace ladies achieve social status as mediators of occasionally conflicting realities, harnessing the forces of worldwide capitalism to revitalize Chamelco's indigenous id. operating on the intersections of globalization, kinship, gender, and reminiscence, Kistler offers a firsthand examine Maya markets as a website during which the values of capitalism and indigenous groups meet.

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Additional info for Maya Market Women: Power and Tradition in San Juan Chamelco, Guatemala

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The journey back to Tezulutlán was long and arduous. It took the men over three months from their landing near Tucurú, Guatemala, to arrive in Chamelco, due to the weight and the volume of gifts that they had to carry (Estrada 1979). Along the way, they stopped to rest in a village now known as Sa’ Campana, (literally, “At the Bell”), setting the heavy gifts on the ground as they slept overnight. When they awoke in the morning, the largest church bell was gone, having sunk into the ground, where it reportedly remains.

Community members state that his peaceful reception of the Spaniards prevented the ethnocide that plagued other Maya communities. A former president of the Q’eqchi’ branch of the Academy of Mayan Languages explained that Aj Pop B’atz’ “was one of the greatest men, in this sense, as governor of Alta Verapaz. Because he knew how to defend the town, because if not for him, we would have different last names. We would be ‘López,’ we would be ‘García’” (Kistler 2010a:423). They attribute their names, the foundation of their identities, to his peaceful vision.

Over time, many Chamelqueños who initially distrusted my presence accepted me, in part due to my use of Q’eqchi’ dress. Wearing women’s dress greatly facilitated my integration into the community. It helped me to build rapport by demonstrating that I respected and embraced Q’eqchi’ culture. Friends in Chamelco often commented that they appreciated my use of their dress, and often, people specifically requested that I wear it when they invited me to events. The importance that Q’eqchi’ women assign to the use of indigenous dress served as my first introduction to the emphasis that they and other Chamelqueños place on protecting indigenous cultural practices.

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