13 Ajaw 8 Pax (February 4, 2016): Teaching Glyphs in the National Education System

13 Ajaw 8 Pax. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

13 Ajaw 8 Pax. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Dear readers,

Over recent years we have seen glyph workshops of many kinds at many levels, but it seems to me that none can be more significant for future epigraphy in indigenous Maya areas than the introduction of epigraphy to the school teachers themselves, who then in turn can multiply the knowledge exponentially in public schools. I present today two such programs, one from Yucatan and one from Guatemala. I have asked the leaders of these two movements to tell us in their own words why this is important.

Bruce Love, President, MAM


TEACHING MAYA GLYPHS THROUGH THE PROGRAM KO’ONE’EX KANIK MAAYA
by Prof. Milner Rolando Pacab Alcocer
January, 2016

One of the great challenges in education that is imparted to the Maya children of Yucatan, from any geographical part of our state, is to provide quality education that has relevance, seeking to deliver the skills that are expected for childhood development, and skills that have meaning, that are linked to daily life.

Under this premise, the Bureau of Indigenous Education notes that in urban communities of our state many children, despite having Maya descent, have Spanish as their mother tongue and do not have opportunities to develop and strengthen their identity and sense of belonging to the culture of their grandparents.

On behalf of these children, Ko’one’ex Kanik Maaya program was established as an alternative to contribute to the development of learning, assessment, and appreciation of the knowledge of their ancestors. This not only involves learning the Mayan language, but also the extensive cultural knowledge and experience that is carried through language, such as its traditions, customs, and mathematical and astronomical knowledge that are still present and are useful in the daily lives of the Maya people.

From this perspective, the education that is offered to these children is intended to cover the entirety of the worldview of our mother culture, and this is the line of work that the institution has set for the implementation of this educational program in 85 urban schools where it operates.

However, despite more than 20 years since its implementation, it has not considered the teaching of the ancient script of our grandparents as part of its contents until this school year, with the concept that the Ko’one’ex Kanik Maaya program could be the means for teaching and dissemination of epigraphy to new generations.

Besides being an innovation in the contents of the 25 schools participating in this school year, there is a great opportunity for the Mayan glyphs to break loose from the idea that they are the exclusive field for researchers and experts, for it can be a component that strengthens the identity of our children who learn to handle the syllabary to read and produce their own texts through this epigraphic system and it can awaken interest in this field of study for future researchers and disseminators of this valuable writing system in which much remains to be discovered.

Poster from the Ko’ox Kanik Maaya school program.  Left side: ko-o-ne-e-xa ka-ni-ki ma-ya; Ko’one’ex kanik Maya; “Let’s learn Maya.” Right side: ta-na i-ni ka-ni-ki tz’i-bi ye-te-le ma-ya wo-jo-bo; Tan in kanik tz’ib yetel Maya wojo’ob; “I am learning ancient writing with Maya glyphs.”

Poster from the Ko’ox Kanik Maaya school program.
Left side: ko-o-ne-e-xa ka-ni-ki ma-ya; Ko’one’ex kanik Maya; “Let’s learn Maya.”
Right side: ta-na i-ni ka-ni-ki tz’i-bi ye-te-le ma-ya wo-jo-bo; Tan in kanik tz’ib yetel Maya wojo’ob; “I am learning ancient writing with Maya glyphs.”


IMPORTANCE OF MAYA EPIGRAPHY IN INTERCULTURAL BILINGUAL EDUCATION IN GUATEMALA
by Victor Maquin, Maya Q’eqchi’ Educator
January, 2016

(please see our blog 8 Ajaw 8 Xul, July 19, 2015, for the first El Estor workshop)

In El Estor, Izabal, in the north of Guatemala, during 2015 two training workshops on Maya epigraphy were conducted aimed at Maya Q’eqchi’ teachers practicing in public schools to strengthen processes to recover the ancient Mayan knowledge with the idea of reproducing it as classroom content.

From my point of view, I perceived that this type of training was necessary and essential for boosting the capacities of teachers, due to the limited opportunities for training with cultural relevance that exists within the national education system, which has not yet taken seriously Intercultural Bilingual Education, which is one of the main demands of the indigenous population, which is currently the majority despite official statistical indexes that try to make invisible this growing reality in urban and rural areas.

In this context, educational communities are scenes in which we encounter  cultural expressions of many varied regions; in particular in the case of El Estor, Izabal, however, besides the Q’eqchi’ there is the presence of Achi, Poqomchi’, K’iche’, and Garifuna, who continue to use their languages, traditions, and customs, forming a multicultural space that enriches all groups.

Thus, the workshops on Maya epigraphy, aimed at Maya Q’eqchi’ teachers, have had a positive impact on the educational communities, mainly reaffirming the ancestral identity and pride in descent from the ancient Mayan culture for the teachers themselves, who then transmit the teachings to students to regain the ability to read the writing on the monuments and Maya codices.

In this sense, I think Intercultural Bilingual Education in Guatemala still has a long way to go, however in many places in the national geography teachers come with a high potential that are contributing to the construction of the ancestral identity as part of the process of claiming of the rights of the Maya people.

Consequently, it is necessary that the Ministry of Education recognizes that Guatemala is a multicultural and multilingual country, where through a culturally relevant education, the Maya people can intervene in the social, political and cultural scene as part of the struggle to achieve the ability of our people to build for ourselves our own historical destiny.

The goal of Maya education is that schools are centers of culture and cultural identity to promote values, principles, and knowledge from our own reality, from our Maya worldview, i.e., our own way of seeing and interpreting the world of our ancestors.

Laa’o jo ‘aj ralch’och’ li qak’ulub wank “chi li roksinkil nawom xe’xkanab ‘chaq eb’ li qana ‘qayuwa’. We as Maya peoples have the right to regain the use of the knowledge that we inherited from our ancestors.

Q’eqchi’ Maya school teachers from Izabal Department, Guatemala. Bottom row on far right: Vicor Maquin, local organizer and participant in Ocosingo Congress of Maya Epigraphers; upper row on far right: Q’eqchi’ epigrapher Hector Xol.

Q’eqchi’ Maya school teachers from Izabal Department, Guatemala. Bottom row on far right: Vicor Maquin, local organizer and participant in Ocosingo Congress of Maya Epigraphers; upper row on far right: Q’eqchi’ epigrapher Hector Xol.

6 Ajaw 8 Muwan (January 15, 2016): Two Workshops on the Lake

6 Ajaw 8 Muwan. Drawing by  Jorge Pérez de Lara.

6 Ajaw 8 Muwan. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Today we present two workshops in two neighboring Tz’utujiil communities on the edge of Lake Atitilan.

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I. Workshop on Ojeer Tz’ijb’
San Pedro La Laguna
Solola, Guatemala
Date: B’elejee’ (9) Ix, Ka’i’ (2) Yaxk’in, August 2, 2015.
By: Clemente Peneleu, Maya Tz’utujiil

1. Introduction
As part of the ancient culture of the Maya and as a participant in our changing culture, in my quest to establish a sustainable and inclusive development with the direct participation of the different members of organized civil society, specifically with the organized youth group called “Youth Without Drugs” in the municipality of San Pedro La Laguna, Solola, Guatemala, I established and developed this workshop on the system of Ojer Tz’ijb’ including the subject of the Maya calendar from the codices, the sacred calendar Cholq’iij. Continue reading

12 Ajaw 8 K’ank’in (December 26, 2015): La Libertad, Yaxunah, and Cobán

12 Ajaw 8 K'ank'in. Drawings by  Jorge Pérez de Lara.

12 Ajaw 8 K’ank’in. Drawings by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

To give our readers an idea of the wide range of workshops in diverse geographical communities, we present in this blog three workshops in three Maya languages that were supported by MAM grants in recent months.

(Map courtesy Coe and Kerr: The Maya Scribe and his World)

(Map courtesy Coe and Kerr: The Maya Scribe and his World)

I. La Libertad , Chiapas, Mexico by Pablo Sántiz Gómez (Tzeltal Maya)

On the 12th, 13th and 14th of November this year I went to the community of La Libertad, Municipality of Huixtán, Chiapas, Mexico to teach a workshop on Maya epigraphy (tz’iib’) of our ancestors, aimed at students in sixth grade and third grade in the school Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez.

It was awesome when I started giving the workshop because the students were so pleased, because in the state of Chiapas, almost no one has done this kind of workshop.

The students were so pleased, because in the state of Chiapas, almost no one has done this kind of workshop.

The students were so pleased, because in the state of Chiapas, almost no one has done this kind of workshop.

Only the teacher Martin Gómez Ramírez has worked with the students in the casas de culturas in the highlands of Chiapas, so there is much work to do on Maya epigraphy. For three days I felt very happy to teach the workshop and the students were very happy to know, write, and re-capture our Maya ancestry. Continue reading

5 Ajaw 8 Mak (December 6, 2015): Ancient Maya Writing and Calendar

11 Ajaw 8 Kej. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

11 Ajaw 8 Kej. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Note from the President: With this blog we mark the close of our 2015 grant season and turn our attention to the 2016 planning efforts for the Third International Congress of Maya Epigraphers, hosted and organized by the Fundación Proyecto Linguistico Francisco Marroquín, or PLFM, in Antigua, Guatemala. We are proud to say we supported thirty-five grass-roots workshops this year.  We will try to put together a statistical overview of this year’s grants in a blog in the near future, with places and languages and numbers of students, etc., but for now, let us enjoy this second workshop by the team of K’anal Akpub’ and Ajpub’ García in Highland Chiapas near the Guatemala border (please see our blog 1 Ajaw 8 Sek, June 29, 2015 for the first workshop and a map).  Thank you for your attention.

Bruce Love

Ojer Maya Tz’ib’ II
By María Bertha Ajpub’ Santiz (K’anal Ajpub’)
1 Ajaw 8 Sek, June 29, 2015

Report: Ojer Maya Tz’ib’ y Calendario (Ancient Maya Writing and Calendar), October 27-28, 2015

Again, my thanks to the foundation Mayas for Ancient Mayan, for continued support of the promotion of knowledge, with small financial contributions, to carry out and conduct these workshops with our Maya brothers and sisters. Continue reading

11 Ajaw 8 Kej (November 16, 2015): Our Next Incarnation

11 Ajaw 8 Kej. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

11 Ajaw 8 Kej. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Our Next Incarnation
by Bruce Love, Ph.D.

Bruce Love pic

My dearest readers, colleagues, supporters, and donors;

As we enter into our sixth complete tsolk’in (260-day cycle) since launching our new web site with our new name MAM, on this auspicious day 11 Ajaw I introduce you to our next president, Dr. Michael Grofe, Anthropology professor at Sacramento City College in California, USA.

Last year I was planning to phase out MAM, turning our resources over to Maya colleagues to continue their work in their own right, but I have been convinced otherwise by our own board and executive committee, and I see that we should continue as long as our role is purely service-oriented, not leading but being of service, responding to our Maya colleagues’ requirements, financial and academic. Where they take the lead and express a need, we respond. Continue reading

4 Ajaw 8 Sek (October 27, 2015): Maní Workshop: Ts’íib [“Writing”]

4 Ajaw 8 Sak. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

4 Ajaw 8 Sak. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Maní Workshop: Ts’íib (“Writing”)
by Jiménez Balan Iván de Jesús

Young people from the community of Maní were invited to participate in an epigraphy workshop. The place: U Tuch Lu’um (“naval of the land”), Maní, Yucatan.

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Beginning 2 Ix 2 Xul – Ending 6 Etz’nab 6 Xul
(July 13-17, 2015)

This workshop aimed to raise awareness among young people to learn the wisdom of our grandparents, knowing the Maya syllabary, learning about ancient writing, and providing basic tools to start writing and reading ancient inscriptions. Continue reading

10 Ajaw 8 Yax (October 7, 2015): Ancient Writing in San Pedro Cutzán, Suchitepéquez

Dear readers,

As an addendum to our previous blog about the advanced workshop taught by Nikolai Grube, the Sak Chuwen Group wishes to thank a number of individuals who helped make the workshop a success, names that inadvertently were not mentioned in the last blog, persons without whose help the workshop would not have been possible:

  1. Igor Xoyon and Karina Koy for their work giving beginner and intermediate-level workshops that allowed many of the students to participate in the advanced workshop.
  2. Alejandro Garay for his superb efforts in coordination and logistics.
  3. Antonio Cuxil for offering to serve as tour guide during the visit to the ancient Maya city of Quirigua.
  4. To the team of Dirección General de Desarrollo Cultura y Fortalecimiento de las Culturas, whose arduous efforts handled the muliple details of making the workshop happen.

It is hoped that we maintain this collaboration between institutions and individuals to make possible the continuation and persistence of teaching Maya epigraphy in Guatemala.

Iyaxel Cojti Ren, Sak Chuwen Group

Today’s blog was submitted by our long-time colleague and co-organizer of the up-coming Third International Congress of Maya Epigraphers in 2016 (more about that in coming announcements), Ajpub’ Garcia Ixmatá, Tz’utujiil-speaker and resident of Antigua, Guatemala.

Ancient Writing in San Pedro Cutzán, Suchitepéquez
by Ajpub’ Pablo García Ixmatá

Again, appreciation to the foundation Mayas for Ancient Mayan for the support offered for the teaching of Maya epigraphy and the Maya calendars.

This workshop occurred on March 27, 2015, in the community of San Pedro Cutzán, Suchitepéquez. This event happened with sixty boys and girls of the “basic level,” and among them three teachers.

The majority of the youths are speakers of Maya Tz’utujiil. The themes we focused on were the following: ancient writing, the calendar of 260 days, and the territorial Mesoamerican spaces where Maya cities (archaeological sites) are found today.

“Basic Level” institute, San Pedro Cutzán.

“Basic Level” institute, San Pedro Cutzán.

Continue reading

3 Ajaw 8 Ch’en (September 17, 2015): Advanced Workshop by Nikolai Grube

3 Ajaw 8 Ch'en. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

3 Ajaw 8 Ch’en. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

MAM is always grateful when we are part of a team effort. Dr. Grube has been giving advanced workshops for Guatemalans ever since the early days of Linda Schele, and he continues to do so with the organizational support of the Sak Chuwen Group. MAM is happy to play a modest role in this annual event in which Maya epigraphers advance their knowledge.

Bruce Love, President
MAM

ADVANCED WORKSHOP BY NIKOLAI GRUBE
July 2015
By: The Sak Chuwen Group

Clases magistrales dictadas por el profesor Nikolai Grube (Foto de Negma Coy).

Lectures given by profesor Nikolai Grube (photo by Negma Coy).

Introduction

From July 20 to 26, an advanced workshop in Maya epigraphy took place with great success in Guatemala City. The workshop titled “Hieroglyphic Texts and Iconography on Maya Ceramics” was led by Profesor Nikolai Grube from the University of Bonn. The workshop consisted of a series of activities that included lectures by Grube, group exercises, and a visit to various archaeological sites with the goal of reinforcing the knowledge gained during the classes.

The course was given to forty-five Mayan-speaking students from eight language communities. The following describes in more detail the various activities. Continue reading

9 Ajaw 8 Mol (August 28, 2015): Epigraphy in the Poqomchi’ Region

9 Ajaw 8 Mol. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

9 Ajaw 8 Mol. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Dear reader/contributor;

Today’s blog breaks precedent in that I am including our grantee’s breakdown of expenses. Normally the blog presents the workshop with text and photos but not the expenses, but I wanted you to see how carefully they managed their grant money and how participants themselves contributed to their own workshop. Enjoy the blog!

Bruce Love, President
MAM

Location of Santa Cruz Verapaz

Location of Santa Cruz Verapaz

Epigraphy in the Poqomchi’ Region
by
Augusto Tul Rax

Subject: Report on the Use of the Mini-Grant

Respected and dearest friends of MAM, it is my special pleasure at this time to relate to you a summary of the workshops done with the help of the mini-grant that was given to us, which follows herewith; Continue reading

2 Ajaw 8 Yaxk’in (August 8, 2015): Maya Epigraphy Workshop in Jocotán, Chiquimula, Guatemala

2 Ajaw 8 Yaxk'in. Dibujo por Jorge Pérez de Lara.

2 Ajaw 8 Yaxk’in. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Maya Epigraphy Workshop in Jocotán, Chiquimula, Guatemala
By Romelia Mo’ Isem

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This workshop took place on June 20, 2015, with school teachers from the municipality of Jocotán, Chiquimula, organized by José García, Director of the Jocotán Normal School.

The objective was to show the relationship between the spoken Maya and the Maya written in hieroglyphics. Continue reading