Publication Date

November 2007


School of Communication



Primary Subject Area

Native American Studies


Maya; activist; culture; revitilization; modernization


For centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards, the Maya Indians of Central America lived as one of the most advanced civilizations of the New World. In spite of the conflict the Maya have faced because of the Conquest and civil war, they continue to represent the majority of the Guatemalan population and have maintained much of their heritage.

As the ladino world continues to progress around them, however, the Maya are faced with the struggle between cultural maintenance and the need for progress and modernization. The decisions they make on key issues such as language, dress, and lifestyle will shape the way their descendants will reflect their Mayan heritage. In the best of situations, the Maya could find a balance between their cultural ties and the progressing world by maintaining their unique ancestral links while also benefiting from modern society. If they do not, the Maya could continue as a marginalized society, or they could loose their unique heritage altogether.