11 Ajaw 8 K’ayab (February 23, 2020): Lunas Yaxche: The Youth of Huixtán Recover the Maya Script

11 Ajaw 8 K’ayab: Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara

As the second month of 2020 already comes to a close, we are reminded of the upcoming Congreso, now just six months away in Comitán, Chiapas. The proposed theme this year will be Maya Vases, and we are excited to be working with the Congreso Planning Committee to help make this an unforgettable event.

We would like to welcome the new Director of the Proyecto Lingüístico Francisco Marroquín (PLFM) Foundation, Juana Celilia Ixch’umiil García Méndez, and we would similarly like to thank Juan Rodrigo Guarchaj Itzep for his years of service as the previous Director. We have enjoyed working together with the PLFM, and we look forward to working with them and the Congreso Planning Committee in the future.

In honoring the upcoming Congreso in Chiapas, this month, we hear from the Lunas Yaxche Team, comprised of three inspiring teachers from Huixtán, Chiapas: Silvia Maribel Ts’it Ts’eme, Norma Erika Ch’ijk’ Mulex, and Francisca Bautista Gómez. Working with Tseltal and Tsotsil speakers from multiple communities, this team taught the first introductory hieroglyphic workshop in Huixtán, and we look forward to seeing additional workshops here in the future as Maya people from several countries converge in Chiapas for this year’s Congreso.

As always, thank you for your continued support for the work we are doing on behalf of our Maya colleagues.

Oj Toj Kolaval,
Michael Grofe, President

Introductory workshop to Maya syllabary
Huixtán, Chiapas, Mexico

Team: Lunas Yaxche
Silvia Maribel Ts’it Ts’eme
Norma Erika Ch’ijk’ Mulex
Francisca Bautista Gómez

College of Science and Technology Studies (CECyT), Campus 27
Huixtán, Chiapas, Mexico

May 14, 2019

Number of participants
Introductory level: 22 young participants

Mayan languages ​​represented
Tsotsil, Tseltal, Spanish


The first introductory workshop with the Maya syllabary was held with the collaboration of the Centro de Estudios Científicos y Tecnológicos (CECyT) 27, the state high school in Huixtán; MAM (Mayas for Ancient Mayan); the continued support of Michael Grofe; and the Lunas Yaxche Group. Both institutions and advisers showed the best readiness for this activity.

For the first time in the municipality an introductory workshop with the Maya syllabary was held, with 22 young people from 15 to 17 years old, originating from different communities: San Sebastián, San Andrés, Chempil, and San Pedro la Tejeria, among others. This workshop involved social contexts lived by Mayan descendants, including the discrimination and racism that has been experienced. However, the youth group showed openness to learning ancient writing.

At first, we contextualized the alphabet. We were checking each syllable in the material. Later, we made the classification of syllables in our names.

The young people performed the same process with their names and surnames, some of them also wrote their names according to their names in the Tsotsil and Tseltal languages, with the lineages that are designated in every town and community.

This workshop achieved the expected objective, the introduction to basic elements of the syllabary. A second workshop with the young people is proposed to construct phrases and words in Tsotsil, Tseltal and Spanish, which will allow us to continue practicing the ancient Mayan writing.

Here are some moments of the workshop with the youth group of CECyT 27, Huixtán, and the Lunas Yaxche member group with Silvia Tsi’t and Norma Ch’ijk’.

At the close of the workshop, we reflected upon the importance of the rescue of hieroglyphic writing and its historical legacy of knowledge. It was decided to perform a next workshop to keep practicing and learning more about the writings made by the ancestors.

We thank the collaborating institutions, and especially Michael Grofe, for their unconditional support for this workshop and other initiatives that the Lunas Yaxche group have.

Greetings from our land Huixtán, Chiapas.
Ich’a spakib’al a wontonik (A hug to your heart).


One thought on “11 Ajaw 8 K’ayab (February 23, 2020): Lunas Yaxche: The Youth of Huixtán Recover the Maya Script

  1. always enjoy reading these summaries of workshops held in mexico and guatemala. it is heartwarming to see how many young participants are registering for these classes. without a doubt it demonstrates the interest there is for ensuring the mayan written language will not be lost. thank you all who make this possible.

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