9 Ajaw 3 Sip (May 14, 2016): Farewell Address

9 Ajaw 3 Sip. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

9 Ajaw 3 Sip. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Dear Readers,

As I compose my last blog and prepare to pass the presidential mantle of MAM, you will forgive me if I wax a little personal.

In 1968, I read that the “Maya Race” was descended from the lost continent of Atlantis, and I believed it. In 1973, I read of extraterrestrial visitations to Mesoamerica in The Chariots of the Gods, and I believed it. While rough-necking on oil platforms in the North Sea, I visited the British Museum and bought Eric Thompson’s Maya Hieroglyphs Without Tears and Michael Coe’s The Maya and dreamed of visiting the ancient cities, so I did.

In 1974, my wife and I and our two-year-old son left California in a four-wheel-drive with diving gear to search for Atlantis and we spent six months in Yucatan and Belize, visiting Guatemala and Oaxaca and many other points in between. I didn’t find Atlantis but I did find Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Tikal and so much more, and so in 1975, back in California, I went back to school as an undergrad at UCLA, majored in Anthropology, and began my academic career where they educated all that Atlantis and extra-terrestrial stuff out of me (for the most part).

In 1975, I was on my first dig at Rio Amarillo in Honduras. Glyphs have always been my focus, but happily my work includes ethnography and history. I recall quite vividly receiving a very powerful intuitional message while working on my dissertation, I think in 1984, “bring the glyphs back to the Mayas.” It rocked me.

The author in 1975, Rio Amarillo, Honduras

The author in 1975, Rio Amarillo, Honduras

I couldn’t wait to tell Linda Schele about my idea, which I did in 1986 at the Palenque Mesa Redonda. Her reply? “We’re already doing that,” but it wasn’t until Friends of the Maya, Inc. was founded in 2005 that I personally found a way to participate, and then we created MAM in 2012.

This year, 2016, forty-two years after my first trip, I left California on April 12 in a four-wheel-drive for three-and-a-half months in Guatemala, Belize, and Yucatan, for my last intensive period of epigraphic and ethnographic field work, during which I will attend the Third International Congress of Maya Epigraphers and pass the jade celt to Michael Grofe, my successor.

I turn 71 in a week from this writing and I look forward to many happy years in my home office in Juniper Hills producing long-delayed publications on Mesoamerica, which I sincerely hope will move the field forward; and I will be turning my attention more and more to the anthropology and history of my own neighborhood, working with local historical societies and Native American groups. All that I do will be better for having spent so much time in the field with the living descendants of the great civilizations of the past.

The author in 2015, Juniper Hills, California

The author in 2015, Juniper Hills, California

Words cannot possibly express my gratitude to the MAM Executive Committee–Beth Spencer, Al Meador, and Elaine Schele–who will continue under our new leader Michael Grofe. To all of you, our readers, please know that Maya epigraphy is securely in the hands (and hearts and souls) of the Maya themselves, while we at MAM, and you our supporters, are here only to help where and when we can.

Thank you for letting me be of service.

Adelante! “onward!”

Bruce

2 Ajaw 3 Wo (April 24, 2016): One winal to go!

2 Ajaw 3 Wo. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

2 Ajaw 3 Wo. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

One winal to go!

For any of our readers who might possibly not know what a winal is, it is a twenty-day period in the Maya calendar. You may have noticed that all our blogs occur on the day Ajaw, the twentieth day of a cycle of twenty days (the “j” in Ajaw is pronounced as in Spanish, with an “h” sound, so Ajaw sounds like “a how” as in “how are you?”) Today’s blog, on 2 Ajaw, is twenty days before the end of our fund-raising drive, which also marks the opening day of the Third International Congress of Maya Epigraphers, on 9 Ajaw.

Here is the invitation from the organizers:

Invitation designed by the Maya organizers of the Maya Congress

NEW PERK!
To spur interest in our campaign we are announcing a new perk, a 25-minute video of the late, famous Linda Schele, one of the founding mothers of teaching Mayas the glyphs. Go to https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/maya-revival–2 to make the contribution.

Linda Schele being interviewed for Breaking the Maya Code

With any new donation of $100 or more, the donor receives a copy of this video, graciously provided to us by Nightfire Films, and described here:

25 minutes of highlights from the 1997 interview for the film Breaking the Maya Code.

In September 1997, a few months before her death, Linda Schele spent three days with archaeologist and historian Michael D. Coe and filmmaker David Lebrun, giving an extended interview that became the starting point for the documentary film Breaking the Maya Code. The interview was an occasion for her to reflect on her career and to take a broad view of the significance of ancient Maya studies.
 
This DVD contains 25 minutes of interview highlights. The complete interview transcript, as well as transcripts of other interviews conducted for Breaking the Maya Code, can be found at www.nightfirefilms.org

8 Ajaw 3 Pop (April 4, 2016): A Direct Appeal

8 Ajaw 3 Pop. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

8 Ajaw 3 Pop. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.


For today’s blog, at the half-way mark in our 80-day campaign, we hear directly from one of the congress organizers, Ajpub’ García (pictured in red, below).

Advanced team at 2012 Valladolid congress, from left to right: Waykan Benito, Maya Poqomam; Ajpub’ García, Maya Ts’utujiil; Clement Peneleu, Maya Ts’utujiil; Hector Xol, Maya Q’eqchi’; Antonio Cuxil (hands on table, lower left), Maya Kaqchikel.

Advanced team at 2012 Valladolid congress, from left to right: Waykan Benito, Maya Poqomam; Ajpub’ García, Maya Ts’utujiil; Clement Peneleu, Maya Ts’utujiil; Hector Xol, Maya Q’eqchi’; Antonio Cuxil (hands on table, lower left), Maya Kaqchikel.

Dear friends, lovers of Ojer Maya Tz’ib (ancient Maya writing), rutzil iwach (greetings);

We continue on the saq b’e (resplendent road), learning and reclaiming the ancient Maya writing.

Our ancestral writing, calendar, and astronomy have much yet to be discovered by our sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters. We need to recapture this knowledge now so we can pass it on to future generations.

To this end, we are organizing the Third International Congress of Ojer Maya Tz’ib’ (Ancient Maya Writing). If there is any possibility, we need your support, dear friends, to make this event a reality, no matter how much you can donate.

Today we tap on your door for the sake of Ojer Maya Tz’ib (Ancient Maya Writing), that it may follow its path in the four cardinal directions.

Until then, a thousand thank yous for your support,

Ajpub’ García Ixmatá, Maya Ts’utujiil

Click on the link: https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/maya-revival–2

7 Ajaw 8 K’ayab’ (Feburary 24, 2016): Maya Revival II

7 Ajaw 8 K'ayab. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

7 Ajaw 8 K’ayab’. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

“ ‘A people without history is like a tree without roots,’ goes the famous saying. This is precisely what epigraphy signifies for the Maya people.” Antonio Cuxil, Maya Kaqchikel, Co-organizer of the 2016 Congress of Maya Epigraphers.

Dear readers;

We used the above quote in 2012 when we at MAM launched our new web site with our new name and logo, and this saying has not lost its power (see 9 Ajaw 8 Pax, February 5, 2012).

Today, four years and 19 days later, we announce to you the Third International Congress of Maya Epigraphers (2012 Valladolid, Yucatan; 2014 Ocosingo, Chiapas; 2016 El Remate/Tikal, Petén, Guatemala) to be held on May 14-20, 2016.

If you click on this link https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/maya-revival–2 you will go to the Generosity crowd-funding campaign, where the video tells our story.

Like the crowd-funding we did in 2014 to support the Second International Congress of Maya Epigraphers, we prepared a video to promote our mission. In 2014 we called it Maya Revival, and since it was successful, we call this one Maya Revival II.

You can all help us by going to the Facebook and Twitter share buttons and spreading the word, or simply notifying friends and colleagues the old-fashioned way, by e-mail.

Thank you in advance for your loyal support. We look forward to telling you our progress toward our goal in our next blog in twenty days.

Bruce Love, President
MAM (Mayas for Ancient Mayan; Maya Antiguo para los Mayas)

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Ana Elizabeth López Ramírez, leader in the Mam Maya linguistic community and day-keeper (diviner, spiritual leader, and interpreter of the contemporary Maya calendar). With the Madrid Codex calendar projected on the screen, Ana López writes the matching contemporary calendar on the white board, a calendar used in daily life.

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The intensity and absorption in this girl’s eyes show the positive effect of our mini-grant program as she painstakingly copies the glyph “pu” to write her surname Puc. Popol Naj workshop, Tizimin, Yucatán, led by MAM colleague Ana Patricia Martínez Huchim.

Click here to see the video and visit our campaign!

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.”

Continue reading

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