Our Elders Teach Us: Maya-Kaqchikel Historical Perspectives: Xkib'ij Kan Qate' Qatata'

Our Elders Teach Us: Maya-Kaqchikel Historical Perspectives: Xkib'ij Kan Qate' Qatata'

Our Elders Teach Us: Maya-Kaqchikel Historical Perspectives: Xkib'ij Kan Qate' Qatata'

Our Elders Teach Us: Maya-Kaqchikel Historical Perspectives: Xkib'ij Kan Qate' Qatata'

Excerpt

What would the history of Guatemala, or for that matter the history of the Americas, look like if the basic concepts were taken from Mayan oral tradition rather than European-dominated historiography? This remarkable book gives the answer. Centered on the lives and thoughts of the people in a Kaqchikel-speaking region in the western highlands of the country, this extraordinary book is a new history and a new historiography of Guatemala. It is a history and theoretical perspective of a Native American culture, American Indians who share the history of the Americas with other groups. And today, when as many as a million Maya have migrated to the United States, settled down, and sent their English-speaking children to schools and universities, this is a history that is shared between the United States and Guatemala. History is more than a relating of past events; it is also a conceptual and analytical approach to understanding the past, or historiography. The theory of history proposed in this book is also a perspective that other American Indians share. This thorough presentation of the narratives of the Kaqchikel elders is not just something that is useful for Guatemala specialists. It is a book for anyone interested in both the approach and the details of the history of the Americas as seen through the living narratives, conversations, and anecdotes of those who have most lived it.

Mayan oral histories are alive today in Mesoamerica. Sometimes elders sit and patiently tell a portion of their history, but more often history lives through phrases, references, and allusions to events long ago dropped into everyday conversations. In this way people growing up in Mayan villages hear history and understand it as part of the unconscious fabric of everyday life. History can be seen inscribed in a traditional dance, in the route a Mayan priest takes to arrive at a sacred place, or in the particularities of landscape: trees, streams, hillsides. The metaphors used in a customary matchmaking discourse suggest social contracts that go beyond individual families to clan groups, communities, and ethnic alliances. Formalized declarations of Mayan history are presented during disputes, during occasions of celebration, and during moments of political change. Oral histories are interwoven with the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.