Abstract: Preserving Maya Heritage: Examples from the Ancient and Historic Past

The Maya past is looked upon with great interest as the evidence and remains of a once great civilization lost in the jungles of Central America.  Both Mexican and American cultures have tied themselves back to this ancient culture – either as the basis for an indigenous past or as the basis for a culture of exploration and study.

At the same time, the Maya people today see continuities and connections to the ancient Maya cities and civilization as well as a direct connection to a more recent history. The Caste War rebellion in the Yucatan of the mid 19th century is a critical historical moment for the modern Maya of the region and is reflected in the more recent Zapatista movement of Chiapas. These continuities and changes in the representation of the Maya past are the focal point for this talk. In addition, a new community project by Leventhal in this region highlights both the ancient and modern past of the Maya living today within the Yucatan.

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