Participatory Heritage Mapping
Maps are powerful tools. They give meaning to a space by naming its elements. InHerit is putting this idea to work for Maya communities in the Guatemalan highlands by giving residents the opportunity to identify places of value. These maps contain not just designations of land; they mark places of cultural and environmental heritage that are important to the community.
A team of Tz’utujil youth in the town San Juan la Laguna discovered an ancestral place that had been forgotten by living elders.
A team of Quiche’ youth in the town of Xolsacmalja identified ceremonial sites at the top of a sacred mountaintop – Cerro de Oro – to establish a boundary between their community and a neighboring village.
All community members from age five to ninety-five are invited to participate in the project whether by mapping, creating the maps in Google Earth, helping to identify locations and boundaries, or sharing knowledge about important places.
Thanks to a grant from Lush Cosmetics Company, InHerit will expand its Participatory Heritage Mapping Project in 2012 to include Huitan and Cabrican, two Mam communities.
Community Heritage Conservation
InHerit’s Community Heritage Conservation Program offered organizations led by or directly accountable to indigenous communities small grants to support creative programs designed to promote and conserve local cultural heritage. Between 2011 and 2013 we supported projects from groups who represented or had primary participation from an indigenous community.
- Check back soon for updates on these important conservation initiatives!
Ciencia Social Alternativa, A.C. (or, simply, Kookay) was one of the nonprofit recipients of InHerit’s Community Heritage Conservation Grant in 2010. Kookay has established a bastion of sustainable living and cultural promotion just north of Yucatán’s capital city of Mérida. In addition to providing working examples of solar energy (both on large and small scales), organic farming, bee keeping, and composting, Parque A’ak provides visiting school groups (from primary schools, secondary schools, and universities) and independent guests the opportunity to learn more about indigenous flora and fauna, the astrological and technological achievements of the regions ancient residents, and historical and modern Maya traditions and culture.
- InHerit is proud to support Parque A’ak’s tours and children’s workshops, as well as the construction of a new cultural center that will bring together ancient, historical, and modern Maya heritage in one brand new “green” building.