7 Ajaw 3 Yaxk’in (August 3, 2012): Further reports from the Congreso de Epigrafistas Mayas

As stated in the agenda (see 13 Ajaw 3 Xul, July 14 blog post), an extended session at the congreso was devoted to presentations by Maya epigraphers with experience in giving workshops in Mayan-speaking communities.

On the program for Wednesday, June 13, were special presentations by Maya epigraphers experienced in giving workshops.

The first group to present was referred to as the OKMA group. Although OKMA itself no longer exists, these epigraphers were leading participants in OKMA workshops during its heyday in the 1990s and 2000s. 

“Maya writing: Reclaiming the writing and the history” presented by Waykan Gonzalo Benito.

Waykan Gonzalo Benito gave the history of Maya workshops going back to the early days in the 1980s with Linda Schele, Federico Fahsen and others.

Waykan’s slide of Linda and Federico with students at Iximche’, Quiche.

Workshops by Linda Schele, Nikolai Grube, Federico Fahsen, Kathryn Josserand, Nick Hopkins, and others became more formalized over time.

Beginning in 1990 the workshops, still in Antigua, were coordinated by OKMA with the help of CIRMA. Participants were members of OKMA, PLFM and invited persons.

Antonio Cuxil, Lolmay Garcia and Waykan Gonzalo Benito, among many others, were pioneers in Maya epigraphy for Mayas.

Slide of Antonio Cuxil (long-time MAM colleague) with a K’iche’ team, one of OKMA’s working groups.

The value of Nikolai Grube’s annual OKMA workshops to Maya epigraphy cannot be over estimated.

Slide of Nicolai Grube presenting an OKMA workshop in 2007.

More recently, beginning in 2009, Waykan and Antonio have teamed up to give workshops in the Pokom-speaking areas of eastern Guatemala.

In the first two years of this new project, Waykan and Antonio taught glyph workshops to more than 125 bilingual public school teachers.

Lolmay García, another long-time MAM colleague and veteran of OKMA workshops shared in the presentations.

Lolmay’s experiences include great geographical diversity, with talks given in Petén, the Verapazes, and the Highlands.

Lolmay García and Antonio Cuxil were regulars at the Maya Meetings in Texas during the tenure of Linda Schele and Nikolai Grube.

Lolmay, Antonio, and Waykan, with their deep experience in learning and teaching epigraphy were inspirational examples to the audience of more than 70 Mayas, the vast majority of which were beginners. Many congreso participants, now for the first time, gained a historical sense of the movement they are a part of.

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