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Victor Montejo is a Jakaltek Maya originally from Guatemala. He received
his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1993 from the University of Connecticut, USA. Victor Montejo is currently a Professor of Native American Studies at
the University of California, Davis. His academic interest focuses on indigenous people of Mesoamerica and have
worked extensively on Latin American diaspora, human rights, migration and transnationalism, comparative studies,
ethnicity, indigenous worldviews and native knowledge, and indigenous literatures.
Current projects: Indigenous community development, rural development, sustainable development, cultural/economic/political self-determination,
cultural resource management, poverty alleviation strategies. Vicror Montejo has been a columnist for a national
newspaper in Guatemala and obtained First Honorable Mention for Best Column in Native Americas, Cornell University.
Native American Journalists Association. In 2000, his Voices from Exile: Violence and Survival in Modern Maya
History obtained the National Award: Race, Ethnicity and Politics Award, American Political Science Association, for
Washington D.C. In 2003, Victor Montejo obtained a Fulbright Scholars Award, Research and teaching in Guatemala,
Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Central America.
Bak'tun 13 Festival
Mayan Rabbit Stories
Maya of Guatemala
Frontera de la Palabra
Palabra Conjurada - First Mayan Book on the Internet
Second Mayan Book on the Internet
Ti slajebalxa lajele - Tzotzil
Third Mayan Book on the Internet
Sab xojob - Tzeltal
Fourth Mayan Book on the Internet
Jich ya xk'ayin te lajele - Chol
Fifth Mayan Book on the Internet
Nichim vayichetik - Tzotzil
Sixth Mayan Book on the Internet
Sk'op Ajawetik - Tzeltal
Seventh Mayan Book on the Internet
Sbel sjol yo'nton ik'- Tzotzil
Eighth Mayan Book on the Internet
Sakubel k'inal jachwinik - Lacandona
Ninth Mayan Book on the Internet
Spisil k'atbuj - Tzeltal
Books by Mayan Authors
Anos de Carnaval
Asi canta la merte
La aurora lacandona
Memoria del viento
Nudo de Serpientes
Orquidea de suenos
Tiempo a contrapunto
Tierra de dioses
Tiro de Gracia
La ultima muerte
Palabra de Ajawes
Vapor de luz
December 21, 2012, signals the much-anticipated passing of the "13 B'ak'tun" in the ancient American indigenous system of time keeping.
As we approach the Mayan Calendar day that marks the turn of eras, Dr. Victor Montejo offers a fascinating presentation on the deep
meaning of millennial Maya culture and history from the perspective of a noted Native scholar and author.
Victor Montejo is a Jakaltek Maya originally from Guatemala. Previously a professor and chair of the Native American Studies
Department at the University of California, Davis, Dr. Montejo now lives in Guatemala. He was formerly Minister of Peace in the
Guatemalan Republic. Montejo also served as a member of the Guatemalan National Congress from 2004 to 2008. An internationally
recognized author, Montejo's major publications include Testimony: Death of a Guatemalan Village; Voices from Exile: Violence and Survival
in Modern Maya History; Maya Intellectual Renaissance: Critical Essays on Identity, Representation and Leadership; Popol Vuh: Sacred Book
of the Mayas; and Q'anil: Man of Lightning. His current projects focus on indigenous migration and transnationalism, as well as in developing
a curriculum in Native knowledge and epistemology in his new manuscript, Mayalogue: An Interactionist Theory of Indigenous Cultures.
"Lost in the jungle---
and forgotten by men---
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,
we're still on our feet
among the silken
This is what the future archeologist will say
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.
Interrogation by the Ancestors/Remembrance
"We, their descendants,
have been duped
so many times
and jumbling up our histories.
We can neither take it lightly
nor accept it
the native peoples,
are the ones they disfigure.
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.
First Congress of Indigenous Literatures of the Americas
Compiled by: Glenn Welker
Return to Indigenous Peoples' Literature
Compiled by: Glenn Welker
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