Monday, October 11 marks Indigenous Peoples’ Day. On this day, we honor Native American peoples and commemorate their histories and cultures. It’s also an opportunity to learn more about indigenous communities all around the world.
Friends of San Lucas works closely with many Maya people in Guatemala. Today, we’re sharing a special interview with Women’s Center Director Karina Hernandez about her perspectives on her Maya culture.
Tell us a little bit about Maya culture.
The members of the Maya culture have a special way of approaching and communicating with the Ajaw, the Maya creator. This is done through ceremonies, which are led by Maya priests, grandparents and grandmothers who are recognized by their clothing and for their ability to know the Maya calendar perfectly and to know the precise dates to carry out these ceremonies.
Also the members of Maya culture have the ability to make their own clothing, and they know the different mother tongues of Maya culture. Most importantly, many of them have the ability to capture everything that represents us in the form of handicrafts. Our culture is represented in our customs and traditions.
Are you proud to be Maya?
Yes, of course! Being part of the Maya community is the best thing that could have happened to me. There is great importance in being an indigenous woman. Why? Because as Maya people we have a special importance, and I do not mean economically, but rather value as people. I come from a humble family in which my great-grandparents and grandparents practiced Maya customs and traditions and my parents taught me the importance of learning our mother tongue which is kaqchikel.
What do you want the public to know about Mayan culture and community?
I want people to know the importance, the value, that we have as a Maya community. When we practice our customs and traditions or wear our clothes, we are valuing and remembering the years of struggle and not letting the great history of our ancestors die. I am Indigenous, I am proud, and I love being a woman.