“The Q’eqchi Maya and the Mopan Maya of Belize are rooted upon unique traditional stories that form a rich part of our culture. Many are untold and only a few have been passed on to the younger generation. This is part of the intangible cultural heritage that combines history, beliefs and the present reality that exists in Mayan culture. It is so important to document our traditional stories because this will reveal the true autonomy of our culture, because stories can change over time. Documenting community stories in the form of books and audio means that there is hope in cultural survival.”
— Acela cho
“These stories will reach a wide range of audiences and it’s the effective way of distributing such an initiative. It gives us appreciation and a value of understanding how our communities came about and the physical connection it has with our ancestors and the sacred land.”
— Martin kus
Illustration, editing, translation (into Spanish and English), production and printing of the Q’eqchi Sacred Site story collection. Through a series of workshops, the Q’eqchi community will create a collection of sacred site origin stories illustrated by children that will revive the traditional value of the land as sacred and inform discussions for the first cross-border model of Maya conservation. The book’s stories are based in renowned cultural anthropologist Liza Grandia’s research, during which she spoke with elders about Q’eqchi sacred sites in Belize.
Unlike other Maya peoples who often built sacred sites, such as temples, Q’eqchi sacred sites are nature itself, including hills, caves, natural springs, reflective pools, cairns, and groves.
Q’eqchi Maya in lowland Guatemala and Belize will share lost origin stories about sacred sites in their communities. In village workshops children will illustrate the story collection that is published in three languages: Q’eqchi, Spanish and English. Q’eqchi villages in both countries will share the stories in schools, meetings and radio shows to educate both adults and children about how sacred sites ground their cultures in the past and the future. The stories will also serve as a foundation for community discussions on the establishment of a Maya-managed biological corridor for the Maya Forests that span both countries.