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The Maya Today

The Maya today number around six million people, making them the largest single block of aboriginal peoples north of Peru. Few of the biggest Maya groups are found in Mexico, the most crucial of these gift the Yucatecs (300,000), the Tzotzil (120,000) and also the Tzeltal (80,000). The Yucatecs live on the warm and also tropical Yucatán Peninsula, and the Tzotzil and Tzeltal live in the highlands the Chiapas. Other huge Maya groups encompass the Quiché and Cakchiquel Maya that Guatemala, the Chontal and also Chol Maya the Mexico, and the Kekchi Maya that Belize. Every of the 31 Maya groups throughout main America speaks a different, mutually unintelligible language, although all belong come the Mayan language family.In spite of modernization and intermarriage in between the indigenous populace and Spanish immigrants, numerous Maya areas have thrived in maintaining their identity and also their ways. This is partly because, throughout their history, the Maya have been confined come a solitary unbroken area including parts of southerly Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and also the western edge of Honduras and El Salvador.

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Among the most vulnerable of the Maya teams today is the Lacandón the the Chiapas rain forest. The Lacandón space a tiny group - numbering just 200 in the early 1980s - and also have attracted great interest among researchers. This is partly due to the fact that the Lacandón have actually never been Christianized, and also are thought to practise a different of the ancient Maya religion. The Lacandón are, however, under intense push from the modern-day world. In the 1950s, the Lacandón were still hunting with bow and also arrow. Since that time, their forest home has actually been opened up to travellers and tourists, and the Lacandón often travel outside the woodland to sell their handicrafts. Over there is an excellent concern the the Lacandón method of life will certainly not endure long into the next century.The Maya face greater challenges, however, than those presented by tourism. Maya regions have also been subjected to intense politics upheaval in current decades, with significant loss the life and economic devastation. While countless Maya have actually been killed throughout civil wars, others from nations such as Guatemala have actually been compelled to flee their homes and seek refuge in countries such as Mexico, the unified States, and also Canada. Human-rights teams are calling because that an finish to these injustices and governments room working to discover lasting options to the troubles of differentiate and cultural genocide.The Maya additionally face difficulties of their own creation, an especially in locations like Guatemala"s Petén region, which has the biggest expanse of woodland left in central America. In the Petén, the tropic rain woodland is gift felled in ~ an alarming price to make method for corn fields. The population of the Petén has actually skyrocketed native 15,000 in 1950 to more than 300,000 today. More settlers arrive from southerly Guatemala all the time, placing massive pressure on easily accessible natural resources. A research by NASA and also the national Geographic society discovered that in the four-year duration between 1988 and also 1992 alone, 1,130 acres of woodland had to be felled by separation, personal, instance farmers. The problem ended up being so grave the in 1990 Guatemala collection aside 40 every cent of the Petén as the Maya Biosphere Reserve.

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As the forest disappears, so perform its treasures. Wildlife vanishes, ancient Maya sites room exposed come looters, and also whole chapters in human and natural history are erased or threatened. Workers through government-sanctioned eco-friendly groups such as Guatemala"s national Council of defended Areas likewise face continuous death threats and the burning of guard write-ups by loggers and others that stand to profit from the devastation of the forests.
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The Maya have challenged formidable challenges, some of which proceed today. Part ethnologists also doubt the ability of Maya culture to make it through the onslaughts that the contemporary world. However, a look in ~ the properties which have kept the Maya culturally and also physically viable to day - their host on the land, devotion to their communities, and also a deeply held system of id - market some hope.
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The Maya have regulated to maintain numerous of the old ways in agriculture and trade. Like their ancestors, most Maya families engage in corn farming and also many produce crafts, such as woven textiles, for sale in markets. Unlike their pre-Conquest ancestors, however, many of the guys must also leave their towns for the lowlands where they work component of the year ~ above coffee and also cotton plantations.The ancient Maya calendar has also survived remarkable well. In the Maya highlands, many communities still have actually shaman-priests or "day-keepers", whose job it is to store track of the round of days according to the Maya calendar, and also to conduct classic rituals because that individuals and the bigger community.

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Maya intellectuals have likewise begun to realize that diverse Maya language teams must band with each other if their culture and languages room to survive. Many heartening of every to some observers, Maya populaces are actually raising rather 보다 dwindling in numbers, and some think that the Maya"s heightened awareness of their stamin as one civilization with a glorious past and also an capacity to adapt may help them survive for century to come.For more information watch also:Mexico: The brand-new Land of Opportunity, by Lee Thurburn, thing 2: "An development to contemporary Ethnic Groups"The modern-day Maya that Todo Santos Cuchumatanes, Guatemalaby Lee UrbanskiIXCHEL A Women"s advancement CenterA Mayan Struggle: Photographs the the Mayan ind of Guatemalaby Vince Heptig