Maya Diaspora: Guatemalan Roots, New American Lives by James Loucky

By James Loucky

Maya humans have lived for hundreds of thousands of years within the mountains and forests of Guatemala, yet they misplaced keep an eye on in their land, turning into serfs and refugees, while the Spanish invaded within the 16th century. lower than the Spanish and the Guatemalan non-Indian elites, they suffered enforced poverty as a resident resource of inexpensive hard work for non-Maya initiatives, rather agriculture creation. Following the CIA-induced coup that toppled Guatemala's elected govt in 1954, their distress was once exacerbated through govt lodging to usa "interests," which promoted plants for export and strengthened the necessity for inexpensive and passive hard work. This frequent poverty was once endemic all through northwestern Guatemala, the place eighty percentage of Maya young children have been chronically malnourished, and compelled wide-scale migration to the Pacific coast. The self-help reduction that flowed into the realm within the Sixties and Seventies raised hopes for justice and fairness that have been brutally suppressed via Guatemala's army govt. This army reprisal resulted in a big diaspora of Maya all through Canada, the us, Mexico, and vital the United States. This assortment describes that method and the results.
The chapters express the hazards and difficulties of the migratory/refugee strategy and the diversity of artistic cultural diversifications that the Maya have constructed. It presents the 1st comparative view of the formation and transformation of this new and increasing transnational inhabitants, provided from the perspective of the migrants themselves in addition to from a societal and foreign standpoint. jointly, the chapters provide ethnographically grounded views at the dynamic implications of uprooting and resettlement, social and mental adjustment, long term customers for persevered hyperlinks to migration historical past from Guatemala, and the advance of a feeling of co-ethnicity with different indigenous humans of Maya descent. because the Maya fight to discover their position in a extra international society, their tales of quiet braveness epitomize these of many different ethnic teams, migrants, and refugees at the present time.

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Scattered figures for the post-1954 period demonstrate continued growth of labor migration. The data do not provide a clear breakdown by ethnicity but it appears that the vast majority of migrants were Maya. Some 200,000 migrated annually in the 1950s, more than 300,000 in the late 1960s, and approximately half a million in the 1970s (Lovell 1990:28). Copyrighted Material Survivors on the Move: Maya Migration in Time and Space 33 Caught in the grip of rapid population growth and a shrinking land base, the great majority of Indians found themselves in desperate situations that the upsurge in violence in the early 1980s only exacerbated.

The travel necessary to obtain cacao, fetched in distant Suchitepequez and delivered to the capital, required more time and distance than carrying salt to Santiago (Lovell 1990:113-14). While servicio personal underwent some changes in the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, especially with respect to Indian movements undertaken to perform it, other forms of forced labor were quickly devised to replace the services lost. What Spanish authorities proffered with one hand, they took away with the other.

See also Lovell and Lutz (1995:68-69). 4. See Dakin and Lutz (1996) for native testimony of how Indians suffered under the excessive demands of servicio ordinario in the 1570s. 5. See Lovell and Lutz (1995) for a discussion of sources related to the operation of the repartirniento de indios. 6. Regarding this point from a Yucatecan Maya perspective, and also from that of the Itza Maya who lived unconquered in the territories in between, see Farriss (1984) and Jones (1989, 1998). For rich information on one of Guatemala's frontier zones, see Percheron (1990).

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