Mayas in the Marketplace: Tourism, Globalization, and Cultural Identity

Mayas in the Marketplace: Tourism, Globalization, and Cultural Identity

Mayas in the Marketplace: Tourism, Globalization, and Cultural Identity

Mayas in the Marketplace: Tourism, Globalization, and Cultural Identity

Excerpt

Scene I :Ruq'ij Ala', San Antonio Aguas Calientes, March 1997

Tomás and Alejandra invited me to celebrate
their son's ninth birthday, a gathering attended by
numerous members of their family. As is custom
ary, pepián (roasted chile and tomato sauce for
meat) was served with rice and tortillas. For
dessert we ate white cake and drank Coca-Cola.
Afterward, the adults discussed family, work, and
me while the children played in the courtyard.

We compared the land and rent prices in
San Antonio Aguas Calientes and Chicago, as
well as other cultural differences between our
towns. They were curious to know if the children
of Spanish speakers spoke Spanish in Chicago.
Was bilingual schooling promoted? Were children
embarrassed to speak Spanish? Tomás's mother
commented that the public school in San
Antonio was giving lessons in Kaqchikel. "It's
good that the children are learning it in school,
but the lessons aren't very good because the
teachers don't speak Kaqchikel."

Her sister laughed, "And you don't know
Kaqchikel either. You use a lot of Spanish words
when you speak." They all laughed, and someone
commented that it is important to know
Kaqchikel. In the courtyard the children yelled at
each other in Spanish.

"It's really good that you speak our lan
guage," Alejandra told me.

"You don't use any Spanish words," com
mented another relative.

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