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Progress of the Pro Arte Maya Project — 2004 Update:
New Connections, and a New Edition of
the Artes y Artesanías Mayas de Guatemala Coloring Book

by Marilyn Anderson

mayan children with coloring books

This image and below:
Maya school children with coloring books, Comalapa, Guatemala.
Photos by Victor Tzaj, their teacher.

I am happy to report the forthcoming printing of a second multilingual edition in Guatemala of Artes y Artesanías Mayas de Guatemala in Mayan languages and Spanish. Other happenings and achievements of 2003 and early 2004 include:

1. Money was secured to reprint 4000 copies of Artes y Artesanías Mayas de Guatemala and will take place in April '04. Two principle donors in the printing of the first edition, the Damiele Agostino Foundation and the Puffin Foundation, contributed again, with a new major donor, the K¹inal Winik Cultural Center, along a number of smaller, yet very important supporters.

2. Once again, Fernando Peñalosa of the Yax Te' Foundation — now Yax Te' Books at the K'inal Winik Cultural Center, Cleveland State University — donated his work for the prepress design of the new edition. We are very grateful for his help.

3. New connections in 2003-04 have enabled us to contribute books to the educational program at the Instituto de Lingüistica y Educación (ILE) at the Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala City. Educators there will extend the distribution to new schools and give teachers workshops on the use of the coloring book.

4. We continue our original relationship with the Consejo Maya Jun Ajpu Ixb'alamke network of Maya schools. Their collaboration has been crucial for the development of the coloring book. Initial translations of the text were organized by Virginia Ajxup and Juan Zapil, who carry on suppo for Pro Arte Maya. We are also grateful that Rights Action remains our fiscal sponsor.

Last year in my update I reported on a Feb. 03 trip to Guatemala and meetings with school directors, university personnel, educational organizations and interested individuals. Their responses to the coloring book as an educational tool for use in bilingual programs was overwhelmingly positive. Those meetings guided me toward a better understanding of Guatemalan education — both the governmental primary school system and the Maya bilingual schools "Escuelas Mayas" movement — and to a better understanding of how the Pro Arte Maya project can make a contribution.

mayan children with coloring books

Other happenings in later 2003 were vital to making progress. Of special note was my July meeting with Professors Laura Martin — now a Fullbright fellow at the Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala City — and Nadine Grimm, of the K'inal Winik project at Cleveland State University. Please find out about the many interesting activities of the K'inal Winik project relating to Maya culture by going to their webpage at:

Laura Martin helped advance our project goals by introducing the coloring book and the teachers' manual to the educators of the Institute for Linguistics and Education (Instituto de Lingüistica y Educación/ILE) at the Universidad Rafael Landívar. Under their direction, new Maya translations for the coloring book have been provided. The coloring book and teacher's manual will be used in their teacher training program.

As mentioned above, over the past year I gained a new understanding of the Maya School (Escuela Maya) movement in Guatemala. I also realized the importance of connecting to other Maya educational institutions, such as ILE at Universidad Rafael Landívar.

Over the past several years my work to further Pro Arte Maya has allowed me a deeper understanding of the many ways in which indigenous peoples in Guatemala and other places in the world are working to keep their languages and cultures alive. They do this in the face of the phenomenon of globalization, which they correctly understand as referring not only to economic and trade issues but also to languages and culture. They know it is their right to keep their languages alive, even when only spoken by a small number of people. In the same way, they understand that crafts — even those that might be made and used by only a few individuals — also deserve respect, and that the artisans deserve support toward keeping their knowledge and skills alive.

Mayan children with coloring book

In 2004, as we work to provide books for both ILE and Maya schools, I am conscious that Pro Arte Maya is still a small project. The printing of a second edition of the coloring book will help the project grow by allowing its distribution to more children, and more teachers to learn how to best utilize it. Our project continues to make a unique contribution to furthering the goals of Maya educational efforts in Guatemala. I thank everyone who has given funding as well as those who have supported us in other ways. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue my work in solidarity with others devoted to the importance of language and culture in Maya peoples' lives and hope to contribute still more as 2004 progresses.

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34 Nicholson Street Rochester, NY 14620 | Phone: 585.271.4374

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