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Words of the True Peoples/Palabras de los Seres Verdaderos: Anthology of Contemporary Mexican Indigenous-Language Writers/Antología de Escritores Actuales en Lenguas Indígenas de México

Vol. I: Prose

Edited by Carlos Montemayor and Donald Frischmann

Publication Year: 2004

This groundbreaking anthology—to be published in three volumes over the coming years—gathers works by the leading generation of writers in thirteen Mexican indigenous languages.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents/Contenido

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments/Agradecimientos

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pp. ix-

The Texas Christian University Research and Creative Activities Fund, Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies, and AddRan College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Universidad de las Américas–Puebla, Escuela de Humanidades, Departamento de Filosofía y Letras...

Abbreviations/Abreviaturas

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pp. xi-

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Past and Present Writing in Indigenous Languages / Pasado y presente de la escritura en lenguas indígenas

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pp. 1-15

I have explained on another occasion that Mexican literature encompasses at least three great branches of literary production,1 each important and possessing a complex and abundant history. It includes, of course, the literature written in Spanish from the sixteenth century until the present...

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The Indigenous Word in Mesoamerica / La Palabra indígena mesoamericana

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pp. 16-45

A long and fascinating road has led me to be a student of Mexican Indigenous literatures. I was born and lived the first twenty-two years of my life in a multiethnic neighborhood of European immigrants in Saint Louis, Missouri. In that part of the American Midwest, the harsh reality of...

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X-ootzilil / Poverty / La Pobreza

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pp. 46-52

Señor Aurelio Zumárraga tells that there was once a certain elderly woman whose name was Poverty, and she lived on the outskirts of town. She had planted a huaya2 tree just outside her front door, and it bore fruit all year long.What...

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X-La -Boon-Suumij / Ancient Rope Marks / Vieja huella de soga

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pp. 53-71

‘‘Hey, hey, where are you going, boy? Do you not realize you are far from home and the sun is setting? You had best go back where you came from. This forest at night makes the fearful suffer. It even makes the brave tremble.’’...

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Jump éel tzikbaal yo olal Yum Tzilo ob / A Story about Yum Tziles / Una narración sobre Yum Tziles

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pp. 72-80

There was a person who lived in a thatched-roofed house on the outskirts of town in the direction of Izamal.3 He stuttered greatly when he spoke, but he managed to make himself understood.He always chewed tobacco and ran errands...

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U pa ak al Ixi im / The Sowing of Corn / La siembra del Maíz

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pp. 82-89

Without underrating the other produce of the fields, we can definitely affirm that corn is the most important of all crops since it is the country people’s staff of life. To grow it, the farmer must interpret the messages of plants, of animals...

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U ch ujlom k ajalin ta Zutz baläm / The Secret of the Zutz baläm / El secreto del Zutz baläm

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pp. 90-98

Teófila’s children ran her off because she could no longer work. Thereafter, she would go from house to house looking for something to do in exchange for a mouthful to survive the day. One morning she crossed a river and went to another town. After much walking, she found herself...

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K ox xchi uk yajval vo / K ox and the Lord of the Water / K ox y el Dueño del agua

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pp. 100-113

One day, K’ox and his mother went to the river for water because it was the dry season. All the wells and springs were bone dry of thirst. The earth was cracked beyond imagination. The leaves on the plants had turned yellow since their roots were unable to find any water. People were suffering...

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Xch unel sk op kajvaltik ta ch ul na xchi uk li jtsotsil jtseltaletike / Catholic Beliefs among the Tzotziles and Tzeltales / Las creencias católicas entre los tzotziles y los tzeltales

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pp. 114-128

In the previous chapters I have analyzed the interaction of the Tzotzil-Tzeltal people with their environment and beings-other-than-human, both at the individual and at the social level, using as frames of reference the production of maize and the preservation of the ‘‘self ’’ in its tangible...

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Lok ta beel te Kajkanantike / Saint Ildefonso’s Pilgrimage / Peregrinar de San Ildefonso

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pp. 130-136

Once upon a time, a priest came to Tenejapa.3 He began to visit the town every Sunday, performing religious duties and baptizing newborn children. Having visited the place for some time, he one day disappeared forever and, according

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Bats il Ajaw Jwan Lopes, Kanan Chij (Jman Enantes, Swijlibja, Chilon) / Juan López, the Tzeltal Ajaw and Shepherd (Manuel Hernandez, Swijlibja, Chilon) / El Ajaw Tzeltal Juan López, el Pastor (Manu

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pp. 138-147

A man, with his wife and daughter, went to visit some relatives. As they were returning home and just as they reached the Kanteljá River,2 night fell upon them, short of their town. Fortunately, there was a cave on the riverbank that was good for spending the night. There they relieved themselves...

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Jas lo il ja statawelo, jtatawelotikoni / A Tale from Our Grandfathers and Great-Great-Grandfathers / Lo que contaron nuestros abuelos y tatarabuelos

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pp. 148-153

This is what our grandfathers and great-great grandfathers would tell regarding Ixk’inib,2 the mountain that accompanies the Tojolabal town of Lomantam, in the Municipality of LasMargaritas.3 Many, many years ago, our grandfathers and great-grandfathers told that the elders of that...

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Wila che be ze lhao / Songs of Bezelhao / Cantares de los vientos primerizos

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pp. 154-172

My ancestors’ arrival in these lands did not put an end to the poverty brought on by the arrival of the Spaniards. It was not long after my grandparents established themselves here that the foreigners arrived. At once, our activities came to depend upon the foreigners’ needs. We grew...

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Ji no xukuamiska, ¡ji xurhijkirhiska! (Mindakata) / I’m Not a Witch, I’m a Healer! (Selection) / No soy hechicera, ¡soy curandera! (Seleccion)

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pp. 174-184

As they worked, Delfina noticed that with each passing day her grandmother grew more and more weary; she was no longer steady on her feet; she no longer ate well; she spent a lot of time looking at her granddaughter and making numerous recommendations regardingwhat she should do...

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Tatei Yurienaka / Our Mother Yurienaka / Nuestra Madre Yurienaka

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pp. 186-197

If it were not for Yurienaka, what would become of us? What would become of this oak tree, fromwhose branches droplets of water continue to fall? It rained hard last night. The earth is very wet. My grandfather went out early to walk around his house without his huaraches.3 He is making...

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In temazcalli / The Temascal / El temascal

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pp. 198-205

Previously, temascals were given a ‘‘navel’’ so that the smoke would escape. The little opening was made above and to one side; now an opening is only made where the dirty water exits. They are also given a ‘‘fire navel,’’ which...

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Chikomexochitl: Ne konetsij tlen tiopamitl kikuajki / Chikomexóchitl: The Child the Church Devoured / Chikomexóchitl: El niño devorado por el templo

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pp. 206-230

From here up above: from this San Miguel hillside that in December receives the wind and the cold from the sea, and on its back holds the secret to the seven hills; nearby we see the smoke from the roza6 that envelops grasses, bushes, and trees. This is Temikiloyan...

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Appendix A/Apendice A. The Jmenoob, Traditional Mayan Priests

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pp. 231-232

Traditional literary forms found in Mexican Indigenous languages correspond to a worldview thatWestern culture has long forgotten: that the world is a living being. It is for this reason that some traditional prayers contain an interpretation of natural and community life whose...

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Appendix B/Apendice B. Cháak, the Mayan God of Rain

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pp. 233-234

There are many traditional stories regarding invisible entities in the Indigenous languages of Mexico. They serve to reaffirm, describe, and recollect a broad range of evil and good entities and specific information regarding their attributes and functions. These stories sometimes contain...

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Appendix C/Apendice C. The Mayan Alux

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pp. 235-236

Of all the invisible entities in the Mayan world, the alux (pronounced ‘‘aloosh’’) is the only creature created by humans from the important ceremonial elements of saka’,1 honey, and blood. Santiago Domínguez Aké emphasizes that jmeno’ob are the possessors of knowledge, and...

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Appendix D/Apendice D. The Mayan Puus

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pp. 237-238

In Yucatán’sMayan zone, the Flood and the Tower of Babel were linked to a typically Mayan element: the powerful builders who lived prior to present-day humanity, but who lacked intelligence and physical height. Their Mayan name is p’uus (sing., rhymes with English ‘‘loose’’) and...

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Appendix E/Apendice E. The Owners, Lords, or Guardians of the Earth and Water

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pp. 239-240

The ‘‘Lords,’’ ‘‘Owners,’’ or ‘‘Guardians’’ of a site, the hills, an animal species, a river, the rain, or the thunder are known by a variety of names in Mexican Indigenous languages: Yum or Kanán (among the Mayas of Yucatán);...

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Appendix F/Apendice F. The Xut and the K ox of Chiapas

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pp. 241-242

In the Tzeltal and Tzotzil areas of Chiapas, several tales tell of the adventures of a Younger Brother, the Xut (pronounced ‘‘shoot’’) or the K’ox (pronounced ‘‘kosh,’’ as in ‘‘kosher’’). When harassed by his older brothers in some recurring episodes, he is forced to do away with them...

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Appendix G/Apendice G. The Nahuales or Tonas

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pp. 243-244

Tales of transformations and bewitchings are numerous and frequent in present-day Indigenous communities and, as a religious concept, constitute a watershed. They are sustained by an important pre-Hispanic foundation of ideas regarding men and women of power; however, mor...

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Appendix H/Apendice H. The Huicholes and the Celestial Deer

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pp. 245-246

The Huicholes’ main ritual ceremony ties together, as different faces of the same spiritual and life-giving force, the deer, peyote, and corn. A celestial deer, Káuyúmari, fertilizes the earth with its blood because its heart holds and sustains the life of Hikú (corn), which, at the same time...

English Glossary

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pp. 247-251

Glosario español

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pp. 253-257


E-ISBN-13: 9780292737655
E-ISBN-10: 0292737653
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292705807
Print-ISBN-10: 0292705808

Page Count: 271
Illustrations: 15 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture

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Subject Headings

  • Indian literature -- Mexico -- History and criticism.
  • Maya literature -- History and criticism.
  • Indians of Mexico -- Languages -- Texts.
  • Mexican literature -- History and criticism.
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