13 Ajaw 18 Sek (July 8, 2017): New Beginnings and the CAPEMAYAXTUN

13 Ajaw 18 Sek. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

New Beginnings and the CAPEMAYAXTUN: Centro de Aprendizaje de La Escritura Maya “Yaxtun”

This month, we have many new announcements to report! Our treasured Treasurer, Al Meador, has retired. Al has worked with MAM since the very beginning, and we thank him for his many years of tireless service on behalf of Maya communities.

As of June 1st, we are pleased to announce that we have brought Sue Glenn back on board to fill the position of Treasurer, and Sue brings with her a great enthusiasm to facilitate some of the changes that are currently taking place, as our Maya colleagues expand their outreach efforts to reach additional Maya communities who have not yet participated in the revitalization of their ancestral script.

This July 11-13, there will be the first of several proposed pre-Congreso events to take place throughout the Mundo Maya in preparation for the upcoming Congreso next year. This first event will take place in Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, and it is designed to instruct Maya teachers from Q’eqchi ‘, Poqomchi’, Sakapulteko, Uspanteko, Achi, Ixil, Mopán, Itzaj, and Ch’orti language communities who have not yet had access to resources and instruction concerning the Maya hieroglyphic script. Organized by members of the PLFM and supported in part by MAM, this event inaugurates a new chapter in our collective efforts to help Maya teachers and students reconnect with their history. Continue reading

12 Ajaw 18 Sip (May 29, 2017): The Cobá Áayin K’uj Stela

12 Ajaw 18 Sip. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

The Cobá Áayin K’uj Stela and the vulnerability of new Maya monuments

On this Memorial Day, I would like to both celebrate the incredible work of Luis May Ku and the construction of the beautiful Áayin K’uj (Crocodile God) Stela, which he created to commemorate the “21 de Marzo” Primary School in Cobá, Quintana Roo, Mexico. After a year of hard work, dedication, and planning, this beautiful work of art was unveiled this past March 21st, to celebrate the school’s anniversary and the first day of spring.

The exquisitely sculpted monument depicts the wise, old anthropomorphic Crocodile God on one side, celebrating an important ancient Maya deity and the local reptilian inhabitants of the Laguna Cobá. The reverse side contains a full Long Count and dedicatory text, with each ceramic glyph lovingly sculpted and individually fired in a kiln. The unveiling of the monument was celebrated with a ritual ceremony in which the children of Cobá participated. Here are some photographs of the event, and the beautiful stela, decorated with mosaic tile.

Luis May Ku and the Maya children of Cobá unveil the Áayin K’uj Stela on March 21st.

Continue reading

11 Ajaw 18 Pop (April 19, 2017): Congratulations to the Mini-Grant Recipients

Congratulations to the 15 MAM Mini-Grant Recipients!!

Map of locations where mini-grant recipients are located

Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we are pleased to announce the recipients of fifteen newly awarded Mini-grants:

1) José Alfredo Hau Caamal and Erika Evangelina Puc Ay, March 4, 11 and 18.
Hunukú Temozón Yucatán (Ek Balam): Yucatec.

Workshop on epigraphy for 24 1st graders and 22 2nd graders in Ek’ Balam.

2) Milner Rolando Pacab Alcocer, March 15 and April 14.
Mérida, Yucatan: Yucatec.

2 Intermediate workshops for 25 students, ages 20-30 years.

3) Gregorio Hau Caamal, March 17 – April 21.
Chemax, Yucatan: Yucatec.

6 2-hour intermediate workshops on Maya epigraphy for 31 students of Universidad de Oriente.

4) Mario Sebastián Caal Jucub and Marina Rosales López, March 18-19.
Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala: Q’eqchi.

Proposal for two-day workshop for Maya spiritual guides. 40 men and women, ages 30-60 years.

5) Victor Maquin, March 18-19.
El Estor, Izabal, Guatemala: Q’eqchi’.

2-day introductory and intermediate workshop for 35 Maya teachers.

6) Mateo Ajualip Rodriguez, March 23-April 27.
Cubulco, Joyabaj Quiche, Rabinal, San Miguel Chicaj, Salamá, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala: Achí, K’iche’.

5 workshops for 20 primary school teachers each, with distribution of 100-page manual, containing the methodology for teaching Maya writing.

7) Victor Mazun Tec, March 31-April 2.
Yaxunah, Yaxcabá, Yucatán: Yucatec.

3-day workshop on basic Maya writing for 6 children and 8 young students.

8) Gloria Nayeli Tun Tuz, April 6-July 19.
Chichimilá, Yucatán, Mexico: Yucatec.

2 hour glyph workshop, 3 times per week for three months for 20 young students.

9) Augusto Tul Rax, April 9 and 23.
Santa Cruz Verapaz, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala: Poqomchi.

2 intermediate workshops for 40 adolescent and adult students.

10) Clemente Peneleu González, April 20.
San Pedro La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala: Tz’utujil.

Introductory calendar workshop for 20 young students.

11) Pedro Geovi Toledo, May 6.
Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango, Guatemala: Q’anjobal.

1 day intermediate epigraphy workshop for 30 young men and women.

12) Luis Manuel May Ku, May-June.
Cobá, Quintana Roo, Mexico: Yucatec.

Proposal to build a stela,15 students, ages 10-12 years.

13) Leonel Pacay Rax, June 10 and 17.
Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala: Q’eqchi.

2 8-hour workshops for 30 children and young people, both introductory and intermediate.

14) Juana Laura Pérez Ruiz, Dates flexible upon approval.
Zinacantán, Chiapas, México: Tzotzil.

2 hour introductory workshop, 2 days per week, 84 hours total (5 months) for 20 alumni of UNICH, ages 18-24.

15) Domingo Meneses Méndez, September 25-29.
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico: Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Ch’ol, Tojolabal.

We are very proud to be able to help support the hard work of so many Maya teachers and students who are relearning the script of their ancestors. Along with thanking all of our continuous support from our donors and our Board of Directors, I would also like to thank the other members of the Executive Committee and the MAM blog team for donating their time and energy to make our work possible. MAM has no offices, no salaried employees, and no overhead. We really are a lean running organization. Except for Xoom transfer fees and occasional postage, all of what comes in from our donors in support of these Mini-grants goes directly to our Maya colleagues, and they use the funds with amazing creativity. I am very proud of the work that we do, and the amazing work of our Maya colleagues!

Michael J, Grofe, President

10 Ajaw 3 Kumk’u (March 10, 2017): A New Curriculum

10 Ajaw 3 Kumk’u. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

A New Curriculum—Teaching Maya History, Calendrics and Writing in Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.

We are happy to report that we received many applications for our latest round of mini-grants! As we review the applications and make our final decisions, we wanted to continue to publish the reports from the good work of some of our previous recipients.

This month, we publish a report from Marina Rosales López and Mario Sebastián Caal Jucub, who led a colorful, introductory workshop last October on Maya writing and calendrics in Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. The workshop was designed for Q’eqchi’ y Poqomchi’ teachers and graduates of the Magisterio de Educación Infantil Bilingüe Intercultural. We are very grateful to be able to support the work of these dedicated teachers who are doing the important work of bringing a deeper appreciation and understanding of Maya history, writing, and calendrics into the national curriculum in Guatemala.

In our upcoming blog on April 19, we will be announcing the next recipients of this year’s mini-grants. Please stay tuned!

Michael J. Grofe, President

Report on the Introductory Level Epigraphy Workshop, October 14, 2016, Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.

I. General information

Name of the event: “Induction on the History, Calendar and Ancient Mayan Writing” aimed at teachers and undergraduates of Magisterio de Educación Infantil Bilingüe Intercultural.
Place: Normal Joint North Institute “ERP”, Cobán 
October 14, 2016, (waqib ‘Aj).
Participants: 30 participants (18 women and 12 men)
Hours: double day (8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.)
Facilitators: Mario Sebastián Caal Jucub and Marina Rosales López. Continue reading

9 Ajaw 3 Pax (January 29, 2017): Writing Our Names in the Earth

9 Ajaw 3 Pax. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Writing Our Names in the Earth: 
Workshop on Ancient Maya Writing in Cubulco, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala
Today is 9 Ajaw, and it has now been exactly one Tzolk’in since the Tercer Congreso International de Escritura Jeroglífica Maya, and this month, we are publishing the report from a workshop led by Mateo Ajualip Rodriguez in the Achí community of Cubulco, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala. To conclude his workshop, Mateo had his thirty participants carve their names into clay using the Maya script.
I would also like to take this occasion to thank all of those who donated in our holiday fund drive, and to announce that we will once again be accepting applications for mini-grants on March 1st!

We look forward to funding more workshops like this one, which bring together Maya people from multiple communities to learn and study the writing of their ancestors. We also appreciate Mateo’s insights and recommendations for the future as we work together towards our shared goals.

Michael J. Grofe, President

Maya Epigraphy Workshop Report

September 22, 2016
Cubulco, Baja Verapaz
Mateo Ajualip Rodríguez

INTRODUCTION Continue reading

8 Ajaw 3 Kank’in (December 20, 2016): Happy Holidays

5 Ajaw 3 Mol. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Dear Friends,

From all of us here at MAM, we wish you and your family a wonderful holiday!

This season, we invite you to make a difference in the lives of an entire Maya community by considering the gift of Maya writing, history, and cultural pride.

We are excited to be inaugurating our Minigrant program for 2017, and we hope you will join us in supporting Maya teachers and students in their important work of teaching and learning the Maya hieroglyphic script of their ancestors.

The season of giving is here, and as we are nearing the end of the year, your tax-deductible donations will help up to kick-start our New Year! Simply click the “donate” link below.

Thanks to the generous support of all of our donors this past year, we were able to help support the Third International Conference of Maya Hieroglyphic Writing in El Remate, Guatemala, as well as funding thirteen workshops in Maya communities, speaking over eight Mayan languages! Still, there were many more applications that we were unable to support. Help us reach our goal of reaching as many Maya communities this year as we can!

Thank you for all of your support!

Michael J. Grofe, President

Your generous donation of $200 will fund an entire workshop for 30 Maya students!

Your gift of $100 will provide notebooks and resources for 30 Maya students. 

Your gift of $50 will provide lunches for 30 Maya students. 

Your gift of $25 will provide writing materials for 30 Maya students.

7 Ajaw 3 Kej (November 10, 2016): Ojer Maya Tz’iib’ and Rub’ajnikil Tinamït Kaqchikel

7 Ajaw 3 Kej

7 Ajaw 3 Kej. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

This month, Ajpub’ Pablo Garcia reports back to us about the excellent workshop he organized on Ancient Maya Writing for young Kaqchiquel and K’iche’ Maya leaders from villages surrounding Lake Atitlán.

In this time of uncertain change, I want our Maya friends to know that we continue to encourage and support them, and we hope to be able to once again initiate our next funding period for Mini-grants after exploring various funding strategies. In the meantime, we will be reporting back from the various workshops from our previous funding cycle.

All the best,
Michael Grofe, President

Workshop Report
Ojer Maya Tz’iib’ and Rub’ajnikil Tinamït Kaqchikel
Loq’olaj Q’ij Waq’i Kame’ Chuqa’ Wuqu’ Kej
(October 27 and 28, 2016)
by Ajpub’ Pablo García, Maya’ Tz’utujiil Winaq


Tz’oloy Ya’, the name of the municipality of the departmental head, has 16 municipalities on the shores of Lake Atitlán. The communities are made up of K’iche’, Tz’utujiil and Kaqchikel. This first workshop on Ojer Maya Tz’iib’ (Ancient Maya Writing) and Rub’ajnikil Maya’ Tinamït Kaqchikel was coordinated with the Indigenous Municipality of the Municipality of Tz’oloj Ya’. The young participants are leaders in their villages and hamlets, and each of them was selected by the same authorities of these communities. Reference was made to the profile of the participants and their active participation in their community regarding support in the search for protection of their territory and their identity. This workshop was held at the facilities of the Old Wheat Mill, a place dating back approximately 125 years, where we were kindly given space to partake of the Loq’olaj Ruwach’ulew (Nature). Continue reading

6 Ajaw 3 Yax (October 1, 2016): Report from Chichicastenango

5 Ajaw 3 Yax. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

3 Ajaw 3 Yax. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

We have just begun to hear back from some of the recipients of this year’s Mini-grants, and we feature below the report received from Iyaxel Ixkan Cojti Ren and the Sak Chuwen Group in Chichicastenango, who, together with archaeology student Leonardo Garcia, held an introductory epigraphy workshop for K’iche’ and Q’anjob’al speakers at the Rossbach Museum in Chichicastenango, Guatemala on September 17-18. Iyaxel has provided some wonderful photos of the event, along with a detailed report and helpful feedback about future events. Congratulations to Iyaxel, and thank you for the wonderful work you are doing in your community!

We also wanted to congratulate Daniela Esther Cano Chan from Maní, Yucatan for being awarded the very last Mini-grant of the season! We were not able to include this award at the time of the publication of the last blog.

In addition, this week Alfonso Escobedo, Sue Glenn, Nick Hopkins, Al Meador, Beth Spencer and Karon Winzenz from MAM will be present at the 10th Annual Maya at the Playa Conference in Palm Coast, Florida, held from September 29 to October 2. The organizers have generously allowed for MAM to have a table at the event, along with posters and descriptions of our work. For more information, please see: http://www.mayaattheplaya.com/

We look forward to posting more updates as we hear back from this year’s grantees and the many workshops being held throughout the remainder of the year. Stay tuned, and as we plan our fundraising strategy, we hope to be able to fund additional workshops in the near future!

Michael Grofe, President


Location: Rossbach Museum, Chichicastenango
Date: September 17 and 18
Participants: 22 people
Hours: 8 am to 4 pm
Responsible: Iyaxel Cojti, Sak Group Chuwen and Leonardo Garcia, a student of archeology. Continue reading

5 Ajaw 3 Mol (August 22, 2016): ¡Felicitaciones!

5 Ajaw 8 Mol. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

5 Ajaw 3 Mol. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Congratulations to the most recent recipients of our MAM Mini-Grants this season!!!

Following the successful Congreso in May, we are pleased to be able to award Mini-Grants to the following individuals and the communities that they support. Our twelve recipients serve eleven communities, speaking over eight Mayan languages, and spanning three countries in the Mundo Maya.

MAM 2016 Mini-Grants Map Continue reading

4 Ajaw 3 Xul (July 13, 2016): U Yok Habil

4 Ajaw 3 Xul. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

4 Ajaw 3 Xul. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Let me take this opportunity to announce that our blogs will now follow a schedule of every two winals or 40 days, so that the day Ajaw will remain the same, while the number of the day will advance by one. Floyd Lounsbury noted that the Jakaltek Maya refer to this as the “Steps of the Year” or U Yok Habil. Today’s date is 4 Ajaw 3 Xul, while the subsequent blog will follow on 5 Ajaw 3 Mol, August 22, followed by 6 Ajaw 3 Yax on October 1, etc. This gives us an easy progression to follow, while allowing ample time for our colleagues to report back from the field.

Today, the auspicious day of 4 Ajaw commemorates the same Tzolk’in day of the Long Count Era Base on 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u, mentioned with reverence throughout the inscriptions of the Classic Period as a day of renewal. Continue reading