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.

On the first day I started to talk about the disappearance of the Maya culture of our grandparents as well as their writing, and I projected a video about the disappearance of the pre-Hispanic Maya. The next day we worked to formulate worksheets on cardboard and eventually they began to write their names and their school name.

They began to write their names using the syllabary.

They began to write their names using the syllabary.

Students began asking about the disappearance of tz’iib’ of our ancestors, and were very sad about the demise of their writing; so we need to work, to rescue, and to promote the writing of our Mayan grandparents before the truth is lost completely. In these workshops we stress the importance of recovering and being able to read the writing of our ancestors that was left embodied in the ancient cities, or as we call them, archaeological sites.

The comments made by the students were very sad: why has the writing of our grandparents disappeared? and what can we do to recover and learn to write the tz’iib’ of our grandparents? These questions the students asked me.

II. Yaxunah, Yucatán, Mexico by Nayeli Uicab Canul and Victor Mazun Tec (Yucatec Maya)

The Maya epigraphy workshop was initiated on July 13 in the community of Yaxunah, Municipality of Yaxcaba, in the Community Cultural Center.

The Maya epigraphy workshop was initiated on July 13 in the community of Yaxunah, Municipality of Yaxcaba, in the Community Cultural Center.

The Maya epigraphy workshop was initiated on July 13 in the community of Yaxunah, Municipality of Yaxcaba, in the Community Cultural Center.

The workshop was held for the youth and children of the community and other visitors in the community. The first workshop was divided into 4 sessions on the days 13, 15, 17 and 21 July. In total there were 28 students who attended our first workshop of Maya epigraphy. The second workshop was on August 10, 11, and 13 which was also taught to youth in the community (and some foreign visitors), but also included some people from the neighboring village of Chimay.

In order to perform our workshop we used the materials they gave us when we attended the Congress of Maya Epigraphers in Ocosingo, Chiapas. The subjects that we covered were (1) introduction to the Mayan hieroglyphic writing, (2) syllables, (3) logograms, (4) Maya numbers, (5) Maya calendar – tsolk’in, haab, and the long count, (6) how to compose a Maya stela with introductory glyph, hieroglyphic numbers and dates, and to construct words.

Identifying syllables.

Identifying syllables.

Composing stelae.

Composing stelae.

Our classroom work was complemented by a craft workshop where we created  glyphs in paper maché.

Making glyphs in paper maché.

Making glyphs in paper maché.

So this is how we conducted our workshops in Maya epigraphy. We appreciate the support we received from MAM to teach this workshop in our community; without you we would not have been able to do it. Thank you.

III. Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala by Leonel Pacay Rax (Q’eqchi’ Maya)

Friends of MAM, I thank you for the trust and the opportunity you gave us to enable our sharing and learning about Maya epigraphy with interested people.

The course awakened interest in the children that allowed the workshop to succeed as planned.

The course awakened interest in the children that allowed the workshop to succeed as planned.

Location: Meeting Center, Subdivision El Arco, Las Carmelitas, Zone 10, Cobán, Alta Verapaz.
Date: August 29 to 30, 2015
Hours: First day: 9:00 to 17:00 hrs, the second day. 9:00 to 15:30 hrs.
Level of participants: 35 people participated, 18 boys and 17 girls mostly between the ages of 8-12 years, with some teenagers.

It is important to thank the Q’eqchi’ linguistic community for providing a digital projector to facilitate the activity, and also for the support of members of COCODE subdivision Arco, Las Carmelitas, who provided the meeting hall at no cost. Community support of parents and neighbors served to offset the cost of food for the participants, and a delicious meal was enjoyed after the event.

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE: DAY 1

REGISTRATION
Welcome presentation
Explanation of the objectives of the workshop
Introduction on Maya epigraphy
REFRESHMENTS
Principles of hieroglyphic writing
a. Reading order
b. What is a glyph
c. Main signs and affixes
d. Reading order within a glyph.
e. Harmony-disharmony
LUNCH
Continue with principles of hieroglyphic writing
f. Logograms
g. Rule of repetition
h. Several glyphs and their meanings
i. Homophony
j. Polyvalence
k. Infixation
REFRESHMENTS
Conclusion of the first day

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE: DAY 2

Welcome
Logograms, syllables and phonetic complements
a. logogramas
b. phonetic sign
c. phonetic complements
REFRESHMENT
Continuation of logograms, syllables and phonetic complements
d. Exercises
LUNCH
Presentation of completed work
REFRESHMENTS
Conclusion and evaluation of the workshop
Delivery of diplomas

Presentation of completed work.

Presentation of completed work.

Proud display of results.

Proud display of results.

Leonel Pacay Rax and Irma Maricela Xo Oxom handing out diplomas.

Leonel Pacay Rax and Irma Maricela Xo Oxom handing out diplomas.

Bi-lingual diploma, Spanish-Qek’chi’.

Bi-lingual diploma, Spanish-Qek’chi’.

Hooray for us!

Hooray for us!

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • The course awakened interest in the children that allowed the workshop to succeed as planned.
  • The support of parents who gave their permission for the children to participate in the workshop.
  • Participation of 50% boys and 50% girls so there was gender equality.
  • The children gained a basic understanding of epigraphy.
  • Participants could write their names according to Maya epigraphy.
  • They developed interest in further research on the subject.
  • Support for the activity by COCODE members and parents.

FOLLOW-UP

  • The participants agreed to share their knowledge with their parents and siblings, inviting them to write their names using the syllabary.
  • At least two workshops to continue the process.
  • Participants continue to learn more about Maya epigraphy and involve siblings in it.
  • Make visits to places like Tikal or Quirigua or some places not so distant to learn about the writings on the stelae.
  • Continue working on ideas and to see new possibilities.
  • To have the support of parents and have fundraising activities.

THANKS

It is important and necessary to acknowledge the support of MAM for making this type of activity possible, sharing with the children something that has greatly motivated them.

The participants were happy to have learned something new and to have materials that can consult at any time.

Thank you to MAM for giving the children who participated joy and happiness.

We will continue with this work and if at some time we can count on your support again, it would be most welcome.

We support children so that in the future they can carry the learning of epigraphy to future generations.

It is necessary to acknowledge the support of the people who have been involved in the process, conducting meetings, and who supported the workshop planning, preparation of materials, and the workshop itself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *