Fosters a holistic understanding of the roles of Maya heroic figures as cornerstones of cultural identity and political resistance and power
In the sixteenth century, Q’eqchi’ Maya leader Aj Poop B’atz’ changed the course of Q’eqchi’ history by welcoming Spanish invaders to his community in peace to protect his people from almost certain violence. Today, he is revered as a powerful symbol of Q’eqchi’ identity. Aj Poop B’atz’ is only one of many indigenous heroes who has been recognized by Maya in Mexico and Guatemala throughout centuries of subjugation, oppression, and state-sponsored violence.
Faces of Resistance: Maya Heroes, Power, and Identity explores the importance of heroes through the analyses of heroic figures, some controversial and alternative, from the Maya area. Contributors examine stories of hero figures as a primary way through which Maya preserve public memory, fortify their identities, and legitimize their place in their country’s historical and political landscape. Leading anthropologists, linguists, historians, and others incorporate ethnographic, ethnohistoric, and archival material into their chapters, resulting in a uniquely interdisciplinary book for scholars as well as students.
The essays offer the first critical survey of the broad significance of these figures and their stories and the ways that they have been appropriated by national governments to impose repressive political agendas. Related themes include the role of heroic figures in the Maya resurgence movement in Guatemala, contemporary Maya concepts of “hero,” and why some assert that all contemporary Maya are heroes.