Sculpted Stones

Mayans

This is what the future archeologist will say whose contemporaries happily measure ancient skulls and rejoice in uncovering a new tomb by Victor Montejo

Lost in the jungle--- several millennia of history, and forgotten by men--- shining millennia of victory.

The Maya and their glyphs stand as one like fathers and sons measuring the present in the easy-going eyes of the tourist who stands by a stele in Tikal stroking a round glyph which bares its teeth to the onlookers as if saying:

After two thousand years, traveler we're still on our feet vigilant among the silken cobwebs of time.

This is what the future archeologist will say whose contemporaries happily measure ancient skulls and rejoice in uncovering a new tomb While the same day, nearby, new graves are opened by the hundreds filled with poor campesinos, Maya who have fallen on top of the hieroglyphs.

This collection of poetry comprises twenty-six poems by Victor Montejo of the Jakaltek Maya of Guatemala. They vividly express the values of traditional Mayan culture, while at the same time exposing the brutal 30 year war of extermination which his people have endured.

Victor weaves a story of how it feels to live in exile, using both comedy and scathing irony. He describes the clash of cultures with lyric intensity. He, like Rigoberta Menchu, knows first-hand the brutality of being Indian in the land of his ancestors.

At the present time Victor is teaching anthropology in the United States. Thanks to his publisher (Curbstone Press) I am able to share with you some of his beautiful work.

Jaguar

Interrogation by the Ancestors/Remembrance

"We, their descendants, sleepwalkers have been duped so many times by foreigners who've specialized in confounding unbelievably and jumbling up our histories. We can neither take it lightly nor accept it because we, the native peoples, are the ones they disfigure.
Just think: What can we say to the ancients?"

Yet today we Maya remain hushed up and have even forgotten the message that might inspire us to break the silence.

That's why if our ancestors came back to life they'd give us thirteen lashes to cure the amnesia of centuries which has made us forget our names.

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Indigenous Peoples' Literature


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