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Rigoberta Menchú Tum Born in 1959 in Guatemala’s department of El Quiche Native language is Quiche (K’iche) Mountainous topography of Quiche: site of much.

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Presentation on theme: "Rigoberta Menchú Tum Born in 1959 in Guatemala’s department of El Quiche Native language is Quiche (K’iche) Mountainous topography of Quiche: site of much."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rigoberta Menchú Tum Born in 1959 in Guatemala’s department of El Quiche Native language is Quiche (K’iche) Mountainous topography of Quiche: site of much guerilla activity and subsequent army repression

2 I, Rigoberta Menchú Menchú and her family participated in CUC (Peasant Union Committee) –Brother tortured and killed by army in 1979 –Father (Vicente Menchú) killed in Spanish embassy fire in 1980 –Mother was raped, tortured, and killed by the army later that year –Menchú (in her early 20s) went into hiding and then went to Mexico in exile

3 I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala (1983) While living in exile in Mexico, Menchú gave a testimonial account of Guatemala’s civil war to Elisabeth Burgos Debray David Stoll critique: Menchú could not have been eye-witness, account is unreliable

4 1992: Menchú awarded Nobel Peace Prize (500th anniversary of Columbus arrival to the Americas) Activism towards recognition of indigenous rights throughout the Americas Presidential candidate in 2007

5 Ethnic Identity Markers in Guatemala Language –not easily learned or assumed –generally requires intense interaction with native speakers Dress –Marker of ethnicity: marks one as indigenous (traje) or ladino (Western clothing) –more fluid than language Religion, surnames, phenotype

6 huipil (p’ot): blouse corte (uq): skirt faja (ximbal): belt

7 Dress Dress and fluidity of identity: can emphasize and present different aspects of identity Place specific: traje associated with ethnic group and with specific towns Traje also indicates wealth, age, religion, worldliness of wearer

8 Elaborate Traje

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10 Cultural Significance of Weaving Connects modern women to pre-Conquest ancestors Symbolic of Maya women’s work in the household

11 Weaving on a Backstrap Loom

12 Men’s Traje Tecpan region: white pants, blue or white shirt, dark wool jacket, hat, sandals Use of traje disappearing among men –Greater participation in non-Maya world

13 Declining Use of Traje Kaqchikel girls not learning how to weave because spend more time on schoolwork Globalization: –Influence of television that gives status to Western clothing (shorts, miniskirts, jeans) –Ropa americana (second-hand clothing from US sold cheaply in Latin America)

14 Maya Revitalization Mixing of traje: –Solidarity –Status –Admire beauty of clothing –Men’s bomber jackets symbolic of participation in Maya movement in 1990s

15 Maya Movement Cultural revitalization: encourage women to use traje and learn to weave Why don’t men return to using traje? –Male participation in non-Maya world –Impossibility to hide one’s identity in traje –Did not grow up wearing traje


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