5 Ajaw 8 Sek (June 28, 2019): Ancient Murals and New Writing: Inspiring the Curiosity of the Children of Santa María Cauqué

5 Ajaw 8 Sek. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara

Ancient Murals and New Writing: Inspiring the Curiosity of the Children of Santa María Cauqué

This month, we hear back from Ana Lucía Perez Sebaquijay and Tepeu Poz Salanic, who held an introductory workshop this past April in the Kaqchikel village of Santa María Cauqué in Sacatepequez, Guatemala. Their enthusiastic students got to explore the San Bartolo Murals, while also playing hieroglyphic games, and extensively studying the writing system. Such wonderful photos!

One year ago, we were just about to begin the Fourth International Congreso on Ojer Maya’ Tz’iib in Huhuetenango, and I fondly think back to all that we accomplished there, and all that has been accomplished since then, with the help of all of our generous supporters.

I just recently returned from Belize, where I was able to help co-facilitate an introductory hieroglyphic workshop at the George Price Center in Belmopan with the help of Ernesto Saqui and Melissa Chiac. This was largely made possible by a generous donation from Dr. Ed Barnhart of the Maya Exploration Center, with thanks to Ellen Barclay and Phil Krejcarek and their students from Carroll University in Wisconsin, who participated in and supported the event. We were very excited to see many new faces, including several Maya participants who are studying to be archaeologists in Belize.

We received many applications this past Winter and Spring, and we funded as many as possible. We encourage all of those who did not receive funding to re-apply when we have our next call for applications. Fortunately, we were able to fund three additional mini-grants at the end of our Spring funding season:

Clinton Cho, Inno’on La oh
Belmopan, Belize: Mopan, Q’eqchi’, Yucatec.

Ajpub’ Pablo García Ixmatá
Frontier between Chiapas and Guatemala: Various language groups.

Juan Rodrigo Guarchaj Tzep
San Juan Ostuncalco, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala: Mam

We are very grateful to all of our generous supporters for making this ongoing work possible.

Ütz Matiox,

Michael Grofe, President

Introductory Workshop for boys and girls from the Santa María Cauqué Village: 7 K’at, 12 Pop

This workshop was held in the facilities of the Public School of the community and was facilitated by Tepeu Poz Salanic, K’iche’ Maya, and Ana Lucía Perez Sebaquijay, Kaqchikel Maya. We started at 8:30, with games to get to know each other. They introduced themselves and practiced Kaqchikel by saying their names. We gave a brief explanation about the decipherment, and the children were very interested and questioned why the Maya writing stopped being used. We all shared our opinions and the importance of recovering this knowledge.

There was talk about the surfaces on which they wrote and on which evidence of writing has been found (stone, wood, paper, bones, ceramics, among others). In order to get the students to be more interested in the subject, we showed two codices and images from the San Bartolo murals. This opened another subject for opinions, questions and comments from the children.

We continued talking about the Mayan languages and how Kaqchikel is related to the proto Maya (we call it ancient Maya or languages of our grandparents and grandmothers). We explained about the writing system, the syllables, logograms, reading and writing order. To become familiar with logograms, we played Memory and Puzzle games (animals, colors and some natural elements).

With the images from the San Bartolo murals that we shared with them, we asked them to make comments about what they thought happened in certain scenes. Several children participated and gave very accurate and well-analyzed opinions about the Murals of San Bartolo.

The writing system was explained again, and the children were asked to start practicing. We answered questions that the children had, and we practiced reading words and a short text, then practiced writing some words in Kaqchikel.

The children showed great interest in the workshop and we agreed to hold another workshop in the second semester of this year.

Thank you very much for financing this MAM workshop,

Ana Lucía Perez Sebaquijay
Tepeu Poz Salanic