UBC Undergraduate Research

Influences of the Pan-Maya Movement: Education and Literacy Development of the Maya in Guatemala, 1940-2000 van der Lely, Gustaaf


Guatemala over the past sixty years has experienced three dramatic political and cultural transformations: the military coup of 1954, the guerilla rebellion and the horrific counterinsurgency in the late 1970s and 1980s, and the recent incorporation of the indigenous issues within the national government political arena. The Maya people have been most affected by these changes as the struggle for indigenous rights and self-determination have been marked by violence and racial backlash by both Guatemalan society and the government. Mayan intellectuals have fought back, with the help of anthropologists and sociolinguists through cultural means to create a new identity in the form of a pan-Mayan movement. Through an examination of how education and literacy development has impacted rural Mayan communities and the response of those communities to revitalization of Mayan cultural traditions and languages, this thesis addresses the question of what is indigeneity. Influences of the Pan-Maya Movement: Education and Literacy Development contends that the development of educational programs has enabled Mayan intellectuals to create a sense of what it is to be indigenous in the contemporary Guatemalan state.

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