Maya Studies with the Maya
Maya culture originated in Central America and Mexico. Long ago, but it reached a degree of civilization comparable to all other great cultures in this world. Recent investigations reveal that the level of urbanization was even higher than we thought it was. Then their culture shrank, a phenomenon labeled the ‘Maya collapse’. At one time it was believed that they had disappeared; now scholars know better. They are still alive; their descendants number in the millions. They still speak their own Maya language. In fact, their modern languages helped to decipher their ancient hieroglyphic texts. Once Maya lords and priests wrote in their idiosyncratic script about their great achievements, about their gods and creation itself. Today most Maya are poor, relegated to second class citizens in the lands where they originated, thousands of years ago. They have been stripped of their lands and of their history. Yet they maintained a rich oral tradition, preserving their philosophy, gods and rituals. This is a book from a Maya scholar who has lived for some twenty five years among the Maya people, who believes that Maya studies should be done with them, and in their homeland. That is, if we really want to fathom their culture. And perhaps even more important, to be able to give them back their history, their dignity.