Alumna Provides Pro Bono Legal Services to Women and Children in Artesia, New Mexico

Alarming images of women and children have emerged on the news, illustrating the urgent humanitarian crisis at the U.S. border. Thousands from Central America seek asylum or other protections and are being housed at a detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico. According to Destination Due Process, “without proper representation, statistically only 1 or 10 of them will succeed in the claims for relief or asylum — to which they are entitled under current US laws.”
Natalie Teague, Latin American Studies ’04 alumna, seeks to change that.

Natalie Teague

Natalie Teague; Photo by Mike Belleme

Teague is the owner and founding attorney at Teague Immigration Law Office in Asheville, NC. She is spending Oct. 18-25 in Artesia, New Mexico with three other North Carolina-based bilingual immigration attorneys. The team is providing pro bono legal services to women and children and documenting their experiences on the blog, Destination Due Process.
Teague writes, “Quite frankly, it does not matter what you believe about our immigration system — detaining children is wrong.  I have visited clients in both state and federal facilities and this is some of the tightest security I’ve ever seen — more than what happens when defendants are on trial for the most heinous of crimes. But the kicker is that these are moms and kids.”
Read more from Natalie and the team here.
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Photo Gallery: CGI Global Opportunities Reception

The Institute for the Study of the Americas was proud to take part in the September Global Opportunities Reception, an event attended by students and families during the 2014 Family Weekend. Experienced students, faculty and staff shared their global stories and general information regarding remarkable, secure and affordable global opportunities available at UNC Chapel Hill.

This event was organized by the Center for Global Initiatives and Global Relations.

Photo Credit: Robert Berges, ’15.

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Digital Portobelo: Connecting Scholarship and Cultural Preservation in Panama

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UNC Professor Renee A, Craft (left). Credit: Roni Nicole; Carolina Arts & Science Magazine

An interactive collection featuring UNC Communication Studies and Curriculum in Global Studies Assistant Professor Renee Alexander Craft’s field research is featured in Carolina Arts & Science Magazine

Alexander Craft is the author of “When the Devil Knocks: The Congo Tradition and the Politics of Blackness in 20th Century Panama” (The Ohio State University Press, January 2015).

Her work also includes a collaborative research initiative called The Portobelo Digital Oral History Project, which explores an Afro-Latin community located in the Panama town of Portobelo and the “Congo” tradition. This custom honors the history of the cimarrones, runaway enslaved Africans who fought for and won their freedom during the Spanish colonial period through storytelling and music.

This mask, created by Sarabi Jimenez, is a fusion of the Congo Carnival queen and devil characters. Credit: Renee Craft.

This mask, created by Sarabi Jimenez, is a fusion of the Congo Carnival queen and devil characters. Credit: Renee Craft.

Alexander Craft was selected as the inaugural Digital Innovation Lab/Insititute for the Arts & Humanities Fellow. The Lab is a project-focused hub for collaborative, interdisciplinary discovery, experimentation, implementation, and assessment in the use of digital technologies to advance the work of the Univerisity in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

In responding to a call from the community for greater preservation, Alexander Craft’s field research of interviews, photos, videos, and archival materials are now online at digitalportobelo.org. Read more about Alexander Craft, Portobelo, and the “Congo” tradition here.

For more information on Digital Portobelo, click here.

For more on this project and to see the feature on UNC Global, click here

 

 

 

 

 

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Cravey’s documentary to be screened at American Indian film festival

We are pleased to share the news that UNC geographer Altha Cravey’s documentary was selected to screen on Oct. 12, 2014 at the Fifth Annual Film Festival of the American Indian Movement, West, in Santa Rosa, California. We hope you enjoy the original article (below)!.

Original publication here.

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From the cemetery scene of the “Day of the Dead’ festival in San Pablito.

A documentary by UNC geographer Altha Cravey that explores the connections of the indigenous Otomi people in Durham, N.C., and in their hometown of San Pablito, Mexico, has been selected for an American Indian film festival.

Cravey is an associate professor of geography in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. The film, “Seed Spirits: The Otomi of Carolina del Norte,” will be screened at the Fifth Annual Film Festival of the American Indian Movement West (AIM-West) on Oct. 12 in Santa Rosa, Calif.

The film was supported by the N.C. Arts Council Folklife Division. Additional producers/directors are Elva E. Bishop and Ciro Arroyo Vicente.

The main source of livelihood in the town of San Pablito, a small village in highland Pueblo, is artisanal papermaking. Papel amate was used for creating the ancient Mexican codices. In the last generation, Otomi (who call themselves Hyuhnu) have relocated to Durham, N.C., and are sending remittances back to supplement earnings from papermaking. The documentary focuses on indigenous traditions that mark the cycle of life and the passing of the seasons: Carnavala Quinciñera, and Day of the Dead. In addition, Don Alfonso Garcia, a leading curandero (traditional healer or shaman)of San Pablito, speaks about the role of seed spirits cut from sacred paper in his healing work.

A trio of young musicians from the band, Semblanza Huasteca

Films selected for the AIM-WEST festival exemplify the legacy and spiritual movement of resistance, and the fight for self-determination found among indigenous peoples throughout the globe. Held each year on Indigenous People’s Day, the festival offers an educational alternative to the stories typically associated with Columbus Day and what it means to indigenous people throughout the Americas.

 

For more on Cravey’s film, visit http://seedspirits.unc.edu/about.html.

 

For more about the film festival, visit http://bennyjcuellar.wix.com/aim-international-film-festival.

 

 

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The 2014 NC Latin American Film Festival

The 2014 NC Latin American Film Festival | SOUNDS & RHYTHMS From Latin America and the Caribbean  

Save the dates, September 25 to November 6, 2014.

Festival Week October 4 – 11, 2014. 

Contact information:

Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University

Attn: Miguel Rojas-Sotelo. Festival Director

Tel: (919) 681 3883 / (919) 358 0787 mobile.

Email: mlr34@duke.edu

Address:  133 John Hope Franklin Center, Duke University, 2204 Erwin Road, Durham, NC 27705

  From September 25 to November 6, Durham and Chapel Hill will enjoy sounds, rhythms, images, and stories from the Americas. This year the festival focuses on the way music/rhythm is intertwined within the social, cultural, and historical constructions of the region. Sound-scapes and rhythm-scapes that represent the joys and sorrows and the individual and collective voices of peoples across the hemisphere will encapsulate the fundamental relationship between life and music in the Americas. Audiences will enjoy the presence of filmmakers, musicians, and artists.   The NC Latin American Film Festival (NC LAFF) is a signature event of the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.  It is also a key “Hispanic Heritage Month” event. Do not miss it!

Visit our web site: Here

VISUAL CALENDAR 2014 NC LAFF

2014 NCLAFF Program_SR_

This year the festival features 17 feature length films, in addition to a number of short films, and video clips. Also the NC LAFF will feature “live music” by local musicians accompanying some of the films of the festival: Bradley Simmons, the accomplished Afro-Cuban drum player and director of the Duke Djembe Ensemble, together with other musicians, will perform a “live-score” of the film SEMPER FIDEL; Chilean composer and musician Carlos Salvo will feature his new composition honoring Violeta Parra, titled “Allegro con Brio;” finally L.E.T.A.L., a local Latin Rock Band will close the festival with a special “jam-session” for those followers of South American rock music. (See more details in the general program)

Festival highlights include:   10/4. SAT. Richard White Auditorium, Duke. Durham. 4:00pm CHICO & RITA. Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal & Tono Errando / Cuba, Spain, UK, Argentina / 2012 / 94 min. Spanish with English subtitles. Chico is a dashing piano player and Rita is an enchanting and beautiful Havana nightclub singer. When they meet, the sparks fly and they fall madly in love. A tribute to a vibrant and colorful time in the history of both Cuba and jazz. The soundtrack features music of jazz legends Thelonious Monk, Cole Porter, Dizzy Gillespie and Freddy Cole, performed by Idania Valdés, Carlos Sarduy, Horacio Hernández, Rolando Luna, Germán Velazco and Jorge Reyes.

chico and rita

Chico y Rita

10/4. SAT. Richard White Auditorium, Duke. Durham. 7:00pm SEMPER FIDEL. Robert Pietri / Cuba, USA / 2014 / 90 min. English and Spanish with English subtitles. Spinning a classic, multifaceted story against an uncommon backdrop, Semper Fidel tells the tale of a U.S. Marine who investigates the life of his father, a Cuban sports star. Stunning scenes against the Cuban landscapes and the city of Havana propel this character-driven drama forward, highlighting the conflict of place and identity the protagonist feels, and allowing the viewer to take the journey alongside him. *Special Screening with live-score performance, featuring Bradley Simmons and participation of the Film Director. Q&A following the screening.

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Semper Fidel

10/6. MON. Carolina Theatre. Durham. 7:00pm VIOLETA SE FUE A LOS CIELOS | VIOLETA WENT TO HEAVEN. Andrés Wood / Chile / 2011 / 110 min. Spanish with English subtitles. The film tells the story of famed Chilean singer and folklorist Violeta Parra, tracing her evolution from impoverished child to international sensation and Chile’s national hero, while capturing the swirling intensity of her inner contradictions, fallibilities, and passions. Her achievements are suspended in a passionate journey with the characters that made her dream, laugh and cry. *Special musical introduction by Chilean composer and interpreter Carlos Salvo.

10/7. TUE. Full Frame Theatre, American Tobacco Campus. Durham. 7:00pm BAÍA DE TODOS OS SANTOS | BAY OF ALL SAINTS. Annie Eastman / US-Brazil / 2012 / 74 min. Portuguese with English subtitles. In Salvador da Bahía, next to one of Brazil’s wealthiest cities, generations of impoverished families have lived in a community of palafitas, shacks built on stilts over the ocean bay. Under a government program to reclaim and restore the bay, hundreds of families face forced relocation. Filmed over six years, this extraordinary documentary offers fresh insights into environmental justice and notions of home for citizens bypassed by Brazil’s economic boom.

10/9. THU. Carolina Theatre. Durham. 7:00pm MERCEDES SOSA. LA VOZ DE LATINOAMERICA | MERCEDES SOSA. THE VOICE OF LATIN AMERICA. Rodrigo Villa / Argentina / 2013 / 52 min. Spanish with English subtitles. Journey into the world of Argentina’s most famous musical artist. Over a career that spanned 50 years, Sosa sold millions of records, performed thousands of concerts all over the world, and left behind an incredible legacy as an artist who went beyond the borders of music to become one of the most influential – and loved – personalities of the 20th century.

Mercedes  Sosa

Mercedes Sosa

10/10. FRI. Nelson Mandela Auditorium. UNC-Chapel Hill. 7:00pm PELO MALO | BAD HAIR Mariana Rondón / Venezuela / 2013 / 93 min. Spanish with English Subtitles. A nine-year-old boy, Junior, lives in a Caracas shanty-town; he is obsessed with becoming a singer and having straight long-hair, which elicits a tidal wave of homophobic panic in his hard-working mother. She loves her kids, would endure almost anything for them, but she cannot abide Junior’s preening and fussing over his appearance.

pelo malo

Pelo Malo

10/11. SAT. Nelson Mandela Auditorium. UNC-Chapel Hill. 4.00pm TROPICÁLIA. Marcelo Machado / Brazil / 2012 / 87 min. English and Portuguese with English subtitles. This carefully researched film investigates the cultural movement dubbed Tropicália, which began in Brazil during the 1960s as a reaction to the popular music and nationalism of the period. Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Tom Zé and others mull over their experiences from that time, while magnificent archival footage brings to life the sheer inventiveness and political reach of “Tropicalism.”

GIMME THE POWER. Olallo Rubio / Mexico / 2012 / 90 min. Spanish with English subtitles. Gimme the Power presents a version of the history of Mexico by using popular culture, in particular the work of the rock band MOLOTOV. The members of the band become informants of such reality by sharing the stories of the lyrics of their songs while they were developed. Both history and story telling (from the perspective of the musicians) are intertwined. A country in constant crisis, a search for a real democracy after the hegemony of the PRI, and a band that gives the ‘soundtrack” of discontent.   Additionally the NC LAFF presents a photo exhibit by local photographer and documentarian Charles D. Thompson titled

ROSTROS DEL TIEMPO | FACES OF TIME. September 30 to December 15, 2014, John Hope Franklin Center Hall Gallery. 2204 Erwin Road. Durham, NC. 27705. In conjunction with the exhibit we will host a panel discussion on the history of Braceros on October 8, 2014 as part of the Wednesdays at the Center series, noon-1pm. John Hope Franklin Center, Room 240. And a film screening:

10/8. WED. Nelson Mandela Auditorium. UNC-Chapel Hill. 7:00pm Rostros del Tiempo | Faces of Time. Charles D. Thompson / Mexico, USA / 2014 / 15 min. Spanish with English subtitles. These are the faces of ex-Braceros (or sometimes their widows who stand for them) who worked in U.S. fields, harvesting crops and providing food for American consumers between the years 1942-1964. They gather every Sundayin Ciudad Juárez to protest because they still have not received the retirement benefits they earned half a century ago.

Followed by: VIDA PROPIA. Sarah Garrahan / USA-Latino / 2014 / 52 min. Spanish with English subtitles. Vida Propia is an intimate portrait of Nora Méndez, a 43-year-old mother of three living in Durham, North Carolina. Nora works as a cook in a Latino-fusion restaurant; lately she has started her own food truck business. *Special event with presence of the director and participants of the films, Q&A to follow the screenings.

All Festival activities are FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

As in previous years, the Festival will take place in several venues. Richard White Auditorium, Duke University, East Campus. Durham, NC. 27705. Nelson Mandela Auditorium, FedEx Global Education Center, UNC-Chapel Hill. 301 Pittsboro St., Chapel Hill, NC. 27514. Carolina Theatre. 309 West Morgan Street, Durham, NC. 27701. Educational Resource Center- ERC Auditorium, Durham Technical Community College, Main Campus. Durham, NC. 27701. Farrison-Newton Communications Building Theatre, North Carolina Central University.  Durham, NC. 27707. Full Frame Theatre. American Tobacco Campus. 318. Blackwell St, Durham, NC. 27701.

Organized by The Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University. This event is made possible through funding by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the US Department of Education.

Co-sponsored by the UNC Institute for the Study of the Americas, Duke Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Duke Screen/Society, Duke Center for Documentary Studies, UNC Romance Languages and Literatures, Duke Program in Latino/a Studies in the Global South, Duke-UNC Middle East Studies Center, the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke, PRAGDA, North Carolina Central University, Durham Technical Community College, El Centro Hispano, and the Carolina Theatre of Durham.

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Book Release: A History of Family Planning in Twentieth-Century Peru

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Adding to the burgeoning study of medicine and science in Latin America, this important book offers a comprehensive historical perspective on the highly contentious issues of sexual and reproductive health in an important Andean nation. Raúl Necochea López approaches family planning as a historical phenomenon layered with medical, social, economic, and moral implications. At stake in this complex mix were new notions of individual autonomy, the future of gender relations, and national prosperity.

The implementation of Peru’s first family planning programs led to a rapid professionalization of fertility control. Complicating the evolution of associated medical services were the conflicting agendas of ordinary citizens, power brokers from governmental and military sectors, clergy, and international health groups. While family planning promised a greater degree of control over individuals’ intimate lives, as well as opportunities for economic improvement through the effective management of birth rates, the success of attempts to regulate fertility was far from assured. Today, Necochea López observes, although the quality of family planning resources in Peru has improved, services remain far from equitably available.

About the author

Raúl Necochea López is assistant professor of social medicine and adjunct assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

See the original article here.

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Gallery: 2014 Yucatec Maya Institute

Sponsored by the UNC-Duke Consortium, the Yucatec Maya Summer Institute is open to students, faculty and the public. We followed along as students learned beginning, intermediate and advanced level the instruction of modern Yucatec Maya, and now, we are pleased to share photos from the 2014 Yucatec Maya Institute. We hope you will enjoy!

The Consortium on Latin American & Caribbean Studies founded the Yucatec Maya Institute in 1992. The Institute has trained over 100 scholars from the US, Canada Europe, and Latin America.

 

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New Open-Access Short Works from UNC Press and the Institute for the Study of the Americas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UNC Press contact: Gina Mahalek, 919-962-0581gina_mahalek@unc.edu

Release available at: www.ibiblio.org/uncp/media/sla 

Chapel Hill, N.C.–The University of North Carolina Press (UNCP) and the Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announce a new joint initiative in open-access scholarly publishing.

Studies in Latin America (SLA) is a new series of short works to be published by ISA and distributed by UNCP in digital open-access as well as in print and e-book formats.

Louis A. Pérez Jr., Director, Institute for the Study of the Americas, and J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History at UNC Chapel Hill, stated, “The Studies in Latin America series is designed to meet the emerging needs of a rapidly expanding body of social science scholarship on Latin America. The idea is to provide a new venue to disseminate original research in the form of short works of approximately 20,000 up to 35,000 words in length, and thereby offer scholars an opportunity to contemplate a new genre of scholarship coupled with an effective publishing outlet not previously available. The peer-reviewed short works open-access series promises to provide scholars with a vast readership and at the same time offer highly usable classroom texts.”

The Studies in Latin America series will promote new scholarship on Latin America and the Caribbean focusing on the social sciences–principally anthropology, geography, history, political science, and sociology–and featuring diverse methodological approaches and perspectives on vital issues concerning Latin America and the Caribbean, past and present.

The Spangler Family Director at UNC Press, John Sherer, hailed the new initiative as groundbreaking. “This series, which involves a three-way partnership between the Press, ISA, and the UNC Libraries, will be our first open-access initiative. It utilizes our new digital-first workflow to efficiently publish these shorter works, while maintaining the high level of quality and broad scope of dissemination traditionally associated with UNC Press books.”

Open-access content for Studies in Latin America will be hosted on the UNC Chapel Hill Libraries website.

“I am excited about this new venture in open-access publishing,” said Sarah C. Michalak, Associate Provost and University Librarian at UNC Chapel Hill. “The UNC Libraries and the UNC Press have worked together on several scholarly publishing projects aimed at making high-quality academic content broadly available. Studies in Latin America is a creative idea that will successfully advance that important work.”

The series will launch in 2015 with an anticipated two distributed works per year.

Studies in Latin America welcomes English-language manuscripts by senior scholars as well as by junior scholars. Submissions will undergo a formal peer-review process as part of the publication decision. The Institute for the Study of the Americas and UNC Press anticipate a wide distribution of the scholarship included in Studies in Latin America by taking advantage of the digital publishing environment.

For more information and inquiries about submissions, please contact Louis A. Pérez Jr., Director, Institute for the Study of the Americas, at perez@email.unc.edu or at Global Education Center, CB 3205, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599. Questions may also be addressed to Elaine Maisner, Senior Executive Editor, UNC Press, at emaisner@email.unc.edu or tel. 919-962-0810

Visit http://uncpress.unc.edu/browse/page/863 for more information.

Founded in 1922, UNC Press is the oldest university press in the South and one of the oldest in the United States.

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Yucatec Maya Summer Institute is Underway!

We are pleased to share the first photos from this year’s Yucatec Maya Summer Institute! Students arrived safely and are excited to begin this educational journey. Sponsored by the UNC-Duke Consortium, the Yucatec Maya Summer Institute offers beginning, intermediate and advanced level instruction of modern Yucatec Maya. The courses are open to students, faculty, and the public.

Check out the photos below and read more about the instructors here.

Fidencio Briceño Chel teaches. With his research specialization on Yucatec Maya language and culture, Fidencio Briceño Chel has over fifteen years of experience teaching Yucatec Maya. As a native of Mexico, he lives and works in Yucatán Mexico. He will soon receive his PhD from the Universidad Autónoma de México and has numerous publications including “Las diferencias de ‘querer’: distinction entre verbo y auxiliar en el maya yucateco” in Tercer Congreso de Estudios Mayas and Na’at le ba’ala paalen: Adivina esta cosa niño (Adivinanzas mayas y yucatecas).

Fidencio Briceño Chel teaches. With his research specialization on Yucatec Maya language and culture, Fidencio Briceño Chel has over fifteen years of experience teaching Yucatec Maya. As a native of Mexico, he lives and works in Yucatán Mexico. He will soon receive his PhD from the Universidad Autónoma de México and has numerous publications including “Las diferencias de ‘querer’: distinction entre verbo y auxiliar en el maya yucateco” in Tercer Congreso de Estudios Mayas and Na’at le ba’ala paalen: Adivina esta cosa niño (Adivinanzas mayas y yucatecas

 

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Students listen to their lessons from staff.

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Instructors, the resident director and advisors play an important role in our Yucatec Maya Program.

 

 

 

 

 

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Spotlight: Reclaiming Their Deep History

Inherit

InHerit forms partnerships with local organizations and schools to educate, conserve and advocate for Maya cultural heritage in the form of material remains but also native languages and traditions. Click to watch the video and learn about McAnany’s work

A May 2, 2014 article by Natalie Vizuete featured the work and inspiration of a current project regarding Maya civilization. It started when UNC archaeologist Patricia McAnany was approached by a school girl in Central America who asked her, “why did all the Maya have to die?” For McAnany, the question sparked a grander observation of how alienated indigenous Maya people must have felt, and how far removed they may feel from their distant past.

Read the entire text (also below): http://unc.edu/spotlight/reclaiming-their-deep-history/

Watch the video by Rob Holliday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkKR_BI0VFU

Reclaiming their deep history 

Story by Natalie Vizuete and video by Rob Holliday of University Relations

A question from a school girl in Central America has indirectly led to tens of thousands of Maya people connecting with their distant heritage in a new and engaging way, thanks to UNC archaeologist Patricia McAnany.

McAnany was working at the site of an ancient Maya settlement in northern Belize nearly two decades ago when the young girl caught McAnany off guard.

“The little girl looked up at me and asked ‘why did all the Maya have to die?’” McAnany recalls. She fumbled for an answer about the past Maya civilization, which once dominated portions of Mexico and Central America before its mysterious collapse. For McAnany, the question was indicative of how alienated indigenous Maya people must have felt. Researchers from around the world had studied Maya history while Maya peoples, now relegated to second-class citizens in their own lands, often felt far removed from their distant past.

McAnany, Kenan Eminent Professor of Anthropology, returned to the issue years later. During her research in the Maya region, she had seen ancient Maya settlements and artifacts destroyed or stolen. She also saw that Maya heritage was fading. A private family foundation interested in halting the looting of Maya artifacts and improving the lives of descendant Maya people offered McAnany a grant to develop projects that would engage Maya people in the work she and others were doing.

McAnany’s research and work stemming from that grant led to the award of a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. As part of the fellowship, McAnany is writing a book, “Heritage without Irony: Transcultural Dialogue at a Busy Intersection.” The irony, she says, is that Maya peoples have a very valorized past yet live in a stigmatized present.

The book will focus on the programs of InHerit: Indigenous Heritage Passed to Present, an organization that she co-founded at UNC. InHerit forms partnerships with local organizations and schools to educate, conserve and advocate for Maya cultural heritage in the form of material remains but also native languages and traditions. Building equal opportunity for Maya peoples to manage and participate in research about their past is a central tenet of InHerit programs.

For example, a group of grade-school students in western Honduras participated in the excavation of a recently abandoned house as a way to learn about archaeological techniques. In a project in Guatemala, Maya people are creating maps of their communities—including sacred sites. The maps document the location, cultural significance and oral histories that go along with places that have been used over many centuries. The maps also give archaeologists a sense of cultural values and priorities on a very local context. “It gives us a level of understanding that is just not possible if you are in a relationship of researcher and the researched,” McAnany says.

In addition, InHerit has developed school curriculum that uses examples and concepts from Maya archaeology and heritage and produced a film of Yucatec Mayan-speaking marionettes that features two siblings on a mission to learn more about their ancestors. InHerit also sponsors grant competitions – one that challenges local communities throughout the Maya region to propose plans for heritage conservation and another that encourages archaeologists to work with Maya peoples on cultural heritage projects.

“Communities with which we work all have very intense feelings and knowledge about their histories and so their history is not unknown to them. What we do is provide a space for a dialogue about a more distant time that is sometimes archaeologically driven and sometimes not,” McAnany says. “People often ask me ‘are you giving people back their history,’ and no, that’s not what we are doing. We are making different kinds of educational and research opportunities available to people that they wouldn’t have had before, but people already have a very strong sense of their history.”

Another important part of the work is that it may help prevent the looting of Maya artifacts. In areas of high poverty, there is a temptation to loot and sell artifacts, even though it is illegal. McAnany says empowering Maya people—who live nearby thousands of vulnerable archaeological sites—is the only way to stop the looting and enhance conservation of Maya archaeological sites.

“They are on the ground and they are the stewards, the local stewards of these landscapes on which archaeological sites are situated, and they are the ones who ultimately will be able to save them,” McAnany says.

Published May 2, 2014.

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