13 Ajaw 8 Pax. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.
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
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.”