Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 9-10

At a time when everyone spoke of the disintegration of the American family, it was remarkably heartening and strange to participate in the welcome extended to my friends Romin Teratol and Antzelmo Péres as they traveled across the United States and were invited into the homes of my family members, of my wife’s family...

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Tzotzil Maya Pronunciation

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p. 11

For those game enough to pronounce the Tzotzil words, the vowels are a as in father, e as in gem or a in fame, i as in safari, o as in cold or the au of caught, u as in the oo of moon. The j is h, as in Na Chij; tz is ts, as in Tzotzil; x is sh, as in Xun. An apostrophe (’ ) signifies a constriction of the throat, as in...

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Visits to the Underworld

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pp. 13-21

Years ago, I spent a period of time in the remote Maya highlands of Chiapas and Guatemala. What I found in there was, to me, a seductive revelation—small houses with high-peaked thatch roofs and the smells of wood smoke and damp lanolin suffusing the air; tiny...

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First Steps

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pp. 23-55

Long before Romin Teratol and Antzelmo Péres accompanied me to what was for them the mysterious other world of the United States, we had already shared a wealth of experiences, become deeply involved in one another’s lives. When my wife and I took our first steps...

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Innocents Abroad and Back Home

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pp. 57-67

In my grand plan to compile a dictionary so comprehensive that it would confound the Ladinos and my own people who still deny Indians a language, granting them to be only speakers of “dialects,” and wishing to have a third party to sharpen our wits, Romin and I...

Voyager’s Prayer

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pp. 69-70

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Part I: Journey to the American West

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pp. 71-164

When he arrived at my house, he found me drunk. When he arrived at my house, he found me asleep. I thought I was supposed to meet him early Sunday morning in Na Chij, because I was going to pass by Stzellejtik to talk to my mother-in-law. But no, he arrived to pick me...

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Part II: Journey to the American East

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pp. 165-223

Compadre Lol sent me a request in the year 1967 that he wanted me and Antzelmo to come to his country. The government did us a favor here; they issued our documents for us. When they were ready, my compadre Lol came all the way to Zinacantán to pick us up. But the...

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Afterword

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pp. 225-238

Thirty years later, in the 1990s, Zinacantec travelers had become quite sophisticated; aware of social, economic, and political problems at home and across the border to the north. Rather than acting as objective anthropologists, they now have embraced advocacy...

Literature Cited [Contains Image Plates]

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pp. 239-242