Galactic Alignment Pyramid of Fire CHICHEN ITZA LAY-OUT CHICHEN ITZA ALIGNMENTS MAYA RENAISSANCE IN GUATEMALA South American politics seem to go largely unreported in the Western media. But the re-emergence of the Mayan communities and their drive for political recognition, if not self-control, is one of the strong emerging trends in this continent.
On August 12, 1996, The New York Times reported that “On a set of Maya ruins at the outskirts of this capital, the Vice President of Guatemala last month swore in 21 Maya priests as members of a new Government-sponsored Council of Elders. […] Two weeks ago came the traditional festival marking the end of the Maya year. For the first time in memory, those ceremonies, which invoke Maya gods and for that reason have long been condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, were not only celebrated publicly, but also covered extensively by Guatemalan newspapers and television stations. After five centuries of bitter repression, Guatemala’s Maya majority is beginning to flex its muscles.”
”For the first time, Mayas are speaking for themselves about themselves,” Demetrio Cojti, a social scientist who is one of the country’s leading Maya intellectuals, explained. ”It is not that someone is speaking on our behalf, defending us, but that we ourselves are developing visions of our own identity and questioning everything, from a colonialist church to our relationship with the state.” Richard Adams, an anthropologist from the United States who has worked in Guatemala since 1950, said: ”It really is a renaissance and a major time of change. Everything is up for grabs.” An estimated two-thirds of Guatemala’s 10.5 million people are of Indian descent, the vast majority of them members of 21 linguistically distinct groups descended from the Mayas. But since independence from Spain was achieved, the country has been dominated by an affluent Hispanicized minority, known as Ladinos, which has discriminated against indigenous Guatemalans and scorned their culture.
In 1995, the government and the leftist guerrillas of the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity signed an ”Accord on the Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” In that document, negotiated under United Nations auspices, the government agreed to constitutional and other reforms so far-reaching that as one diplomat put it, they will force Guatemalans ”to redesign their entire society” if the changes are carried out by Congress. That is not only a sign of a Renaissance, but should be seen as a genuine re-emergence of the Mayan mind after several centuries of oppression. Recently, when Alvaro Colom was sworn in as president of Guatemala on January 14, 2008, he vowed to empower the Mayans, who had voted overwhelmingly for Colom, who is one of just three non-Mayas to be a Maya priest and is known as “Sparrow Hawk.” As if to underline his alliance with the Mayan cause, his inaugural speech stated that he would open Mirador, a major archaeological site three times the size of Tikal, to tourism. Progress for the Mayas remains slow, but is nevertheless steady – and rapid, considering the centuries of oppression, both politically and religiously, that has befallen them.