Cover

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TItle Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

What would the history of Guatemala, or for that matter the history of the Americas, look like if the basic concepts were taken from Mayan oral tradition rather than European-dominated historiography? This remarkable book gives the answer. Centered on the lives and thoughts of the people in a Kaqchikel-speaking region in the western highlands of the country, this...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xi

First and foremost I want to thank the people to whom this work is dedicated— the Kaqchikel. This work would not have been possible if they had not allowed me into their world. Lamentably, for reasons I will explain, I am unable to name them. I especially want to thank my host family in Comalapa who accepted me as their own. A number of other families in Comalapa...

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Methodology

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pp. 1-21

My research began in 1994, when I enrolled in Tulane University’s Maya- Kaqchikel language and culture class in Antigua, Guatemala. The teachers were native speakers who lived in the surrounding area, and the class was sometimes held in their respective towns, which allowed further insight into Kaqchikel lifestyle and culture. As my personal relationships developed, some...

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Introduction

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pp. 22-39

About two months after I began my fieldwork in Comalapa, a town nestled in the western highlands of Guatemala, my Maya-Kaqchikel brother,1 Jun Ajpu’, returned for the weekend from his work in the neighboring department (state) of Acatenango. The town in which he worked was predominantly...

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1 Town Origins

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pp. 40-81

Kaqchikel use their oral traditions in part to preserve the stories of how their towns were founded. One Kaqchikel ethnohistorian argues that “our people were the first ones to inhabit this land and that is important for our identity.” 1 The actors in and the circumstances involved in settling communities...

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2 Land, Labor, and Integration

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pp. 82-114

Kaqchikel are teachers, of

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3 Epidemics

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pp. 115-138

Guatemala has a long history of natural forces wreaking havoc on its population. As a result, happenings outside human influence are recurrent themes in Kaqchikel oral traditions. Family histories express emotional scars, while gravestones and pockmarked faces provide physical evidence of the decimation that epidemics have unleashed on the Kaqchikel population. According...

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4 Natural Disasters

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pp. 154-176

Kaqchikel have felt the extension of the state apparatus in their lives through education. Historically, the government has imposed education upon Maya to incorporate them into Ladino society. Kaqchikel have recognized these intentions and have taken action to minimize their impact. They have long...

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5 Education, Exclusion, and Assertiveness

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pp. 177-194

Kaqchikel have felt the extension of the state apparatus in their lives through education. Historically, the government has imposed education upon Maya to incorporate them into Ladino society. Kaqchikel have recognized these intentions and have taken action to minimize their impact. They have long...

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6Kaqchikel in the Military

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pp. 195-219

As in public schools, the central goal of the Guatemalan military has beento indoctrinate Maya in Ladino ways. Kaqchikel did not simply succumb tothe pressure to change; instead, many took advantage of what the militaryoffered (prior to the onset of the civil war). The Guatemalan government hasconscripted young Mayan men into the military since Jos

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7Ubico’s Legacy

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pp. 220-248

Looking at which leaders remain relevant in Kaqchikel oral histories elucidates the qualities Kaqchikel respect and seek to emulate and what qualities they spurn. Ubico commands the most attention in oral histories, but other leaders have certainly made an impact on Kaqchikel. Kaqchikel historical...

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8 Leaders

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pp. 249-274

Kaqchikel oral histories contain a plethora of information concerning ethnic relations. Most of these accounts pertain to interactions with Ladinos and commence with the Spanish invasion. Kaqchikel assert that antagonistic relations began because Spaniards abused them. This exploitation continued...

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9 Ethnic Relations

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pp. 249-274

Kaqchikel oral histories contain a plethora of information concerning ethnic relations. Most of these accounts pertain to interactions with Ladinos and commence with the Spanish invasion. Kaqchikel assert that antagonistic relations began because Spaniards abused them. This exploitation continued...

Glossary

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pp. 275-278

Timeline of Guatemalan Presidentsfrom 1831

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pp. 279-280

Notes

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pp. 281-338

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Sources

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pp. 339-372

Unless otherwise indicated, I conducted the interview; and unless otherwise indicated, the interview was conducted in the informants hometown or aldea...

Index

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pp. 373-385