Report from El Estor, Izabal, Guatemala
Maya Epigraphy Workshop forQ’eqchi’ Maya-speaking Teachers
Wajxaqib’ Ajmaq, April 6, 2015
B’eleeb No’j, April 7, 2015
By: Victor Maquin, Q’eqchi’ Maya-speaker, Event Coordinator
In the head town of the municipality of El Estor, Department of Izabal, Guatemala, located in the territory of the Q’eqchi’ Maya people, on the shores of Lake Isabal, a training workshop took place on Maya epigraphy focused toward Q’eqchi’-speaking school teachers, in order to promote the recovery of Maya cultural values, specifically the ancient Maya writing and its application in the school environment.
The activity was developed with the participation of representatives, women and men, from various educational institutions from the northern region of Guatemala. The training workshop came about through the efforts of Victor Maquin, Event Coordinator, who participated in the Second International Congress of Maya Epigraphers in Ocosingo, Chiapas, Mexico, in May, 2014, and as part of the agreement to spread the acquired knowledge from the said international event, and thanks to the help of Dr. Bruce Love, president of the international organization MAM (Maya Antiguo para los Mayas) with headquarters in the United States.
1 Ajaw 8 Sek. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.
By K’anal Ajpub’ Santiz (María Bertha Santiz Pérez)
First, our appreciation to the organization Maya Antiguo para los Mayas (MAM) for promoting and supporting with small grants the fulfillment of these activities of Ojer Tz’ib’ [ancient writing]. With the grain of maize that has been planted now, we are sure to harvest maize of various colors from the teaching of Ojer Tz’ib’. Members of MAM, thank you very much for this contribution to the Tojolab’ales, which was very supportive and very important as it was of great interest to feel and experience a sense of our ancestors.
That is why I, K’anal Ajpub’ (Bertha María Santíz Pérez), on behalf of the people of El Rosario Bahuitz extend our most sincere thanks to all those who struggle every day to share new knowledge (unfortunately many do not know their historical past) and in this way to reflect and raise awareness and regain ancestral history to all those interested, as an example to these children who are the future of tomorrow.
To orient our readers, here is a map of the Tojolabal region, red, on the Guatemala/Chiapas border.
Community of El Rosario Bahuitz (place of the hills).
The event took place on February 28, 2105, in the community of El Rosario Bahuitz (place of the hills), in the municipality of Las Margaritas, Chiapas, Mexico, with the students of the Escuela Telesecundario Emilio Rabasa Estebanell, where the commissary, in coordination with the committee padres de familia de la comunidad, very kindly gave thanks for bringing a new dynamic to the development of their children, for reclaiming their identity as Maya speakers by means of Ojer Tz’ib and language use in the community. Continue reading
7 Ajaw 8 Sotz’. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.
By Marina Rosales López and Mario Sebastián Caal Jucub
Date: March 28 (12 Kej)
Location: Auditorium of the Instituto Normal Mixto del Norte “Emilio Rosales Ponce,” Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
Coordinators: Marina Rosales López and Mario Sebastián Jucub
Participants: 35 participants and 2 instructors
The workshop began at 8:00 a.m. with an invocation with the participation of thirty-five persons and two instructors. The participants came from five municipalities of the Department of Alta Verapaz being the following: San Juan Chamelco, Carchá, Cobán, San Cristobal Verapaz, and Tactic; the majority were Q’eqchi’ speakers and some Poqomchi’. The participants were for the most part teachers of various grades and students of teaching for primary schools. It took place on this date taking advantage of the recess for holy week the Wayeb’ celebration that happens in the north region of the country. For this reason the event was divided into two parts, the first being calendrical and the second being about the ancient writing. The first part was taught by Mario Sebastián Caal.
Participants and instructors
13 Ajaw 8 Sip. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.
Written by Clemente Peneleu
- Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán, Sololá, Guatemala, 5 Imox 14 Pax (February10, 2015).
Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán, Sololá, Guatemala. 5 Imox 15 Pax.
Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán, Sololá, Guatemala. 5 Imox 15 Pax.
This workshop on the calendar and numeration in the codices lasted from morning to evening. The participants were twenty-six leaders, men and women from Maya communities of the highlands, who were taking courses for a diploma in Political Formation of Indigenous Leaders from the point of view of the Maya. I was given the opportunity to work with them to develop the theme: the calendar from the codices. Over the course of the workshop I was very pleased to observe that the participants were very energized and interested by the subject, leaving us eager to continue this work at a later date. Continue reading
6 Ajaw 8 Wo. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.
Sunday, March 22, in the “city hall” of Kikil, in the municipality of Tizimín, Yucatán.
Two workshops of one hour each took place within the setting of a public celebration of a Ch’a Chaak rain ceremony.
Twenty-two children in total attended the workshop, some at 11 a.m., the others at 2:00 p.m.
It was possible to cover the following: numbers, colors, and the cardinal directions.
The organization PRODETUR of Tizimín provided refreshments for the children, as well as pencils and workbooks.
The Foundation Dondé donated backpacks and the children’s version of the Popol Vuh.
Deira Jiménez and her father, a painter, donated fifteen copies of Maya Numbers of Yesterday and Today for the children.
Many thanks to MAM for all their help.
Photos of Kikil on Sunday, March 22:
12 Ajaw 8 Pop. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.
GLYPH WORKSHIP FOR MAYAS IN THE ACHÍ LINGUISTIC COMMUNITY
Andrés Cholotío García, Executive Director PLFM Foundation
Date and place: Event took place in Cubulco, Baja Verapaz on March 1, 2015.
Theme: How to write in tz’iib’ (hieroglyphs).
Coordination by: Andrés Cholotío García and the Achí linguistic community
Instructor: Andrés Cholotío García
Assisted by: Nidia Minerva Padilla Sapón Continue reading
5 Ajaw 13 Kumk’u. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.
Since initiating our current mini-grant program (maximum $200) in January, we have approved and financed eight new workshops; some recently completed, some taking place at this printing, and some planned for the near future. We also have five additional letters of inquiry that will likely result in grants and workshops.
As the reports and pictures come in from the field, we look forward to printing them in upcoming blogs; but while waiting for the first informes to arrive, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to plot all the workshops that MAM or MAM affiliates have performed up to now, including workshops I have given on behalf of MAM and workshops by our Maya colleagues on their own behalf, in their own or nearby communities.
How gratifying to see such a wide geographical spread, and how instructive to see areas under-served such as Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, and much of Chiapas. While it may be tempting to congratulate ourselves, better to re-energize our efforts supporting Mayas learning and teaching the glyphs and the calendar. Adelante!
Submitted by Bruce Love, Ph.D., President, MAM
11 Ajaw 13 K’ayab. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.
Dear readers, we have lingered on Santa Eulalia for some time now, this being the fourth and final blog post from there.
In the 1920s, almost a century ago, anthropologists rocked the academic world by discovering the Maya calendar still in use in the remote Cuchumatanes Mountains of Guatelmala, which of course was not news to the Mayas themselves who incorporate the tsolk’in and the year bearers in their daily lives.
Study area of the 1927 Tulane University expedition from The Year Bearer’s People (1931) by Oliver La Farge and Douglas Byer.
Oliver La Farge returned to Santa Eulalia in 1932 to focus specifically on the calendar and bring to the outside world its inner workings and the ways of the people using it. Continue reading
4 Ajaw 13 Pax. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.
The nature of Classic Maya writing was explained using examples taken directly from the stelae. This was followed by study of the calendar system, including the Long Count, the Tzolk’in (Stxolilal Q’inale’ in Q’anjob’al) and the Haab.
To better explain the calendars, exercise activities were done showing how the calendars worked. To understand the Cholq’ij (Tzolk’in) the participants formed two circles, one representing the 20 day-names and the other the numbers 1-13. The idea was the students learned how at the point where the two circles came together they were creating a single date; in effect the students themselves became a living calendar of 260 days!
An exercise to practice the numbers in Q’anjob’al directed by Igor.
10 Ajaw 13 Muwan. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.
Happily, the workshop took place on the day 6 Kixkab’ (No’j/Kab’an) and 7 Chinax (Tijax/Etz’nab) (December 8 and 9, 2014). The facilitators were Igor Xoyón (Maya Kaqchikel), Karina Coy (Maya Kaqchikel) and Alejandro Garay of the Sak Chuwen Group, each of whom were participants in the recent International Congress of Maya Epigraphers that took place in Ocosingo, Chiapas.
Organizers and instructors (left to right): Alejandro Garay, Kaxho, Igor Xoyon, and B’alam Sotz’.
Although the workshop took place during very cold weather (around 45 degrees F.) the atmosphere was warm and friendly due to the great interest that the almost 40 participants showed, who were constantly asking questions and seeking answers. The workshop began with a short prayer invoking the ancestor Kixkab’, to thank him for the opportunity to learn about the history of the Maya people. Continue reading