On The Road of Our Ancestors
- Eusebio and Linda are Maya twins living in rural Yucatán, Mexico. They are aware of their heritage, but like many Maya youth, know little about its history and significance. In 2008, these two Maya puppets embarked on a journey on film to learn more about their ancestors, and to share what they learned with school children in Mexico and beyond.
Along with their teacher and classmate, Ignacio, the twins visit the past at the ancient sites of Chichen Itzá and Kiuic. But when you are Maya, culture and heritage doesn’t stop at ruins from 1000 years ago; it is in the home and all around. In their village and the surrounding forest, Eusebio and Linda encounter Maya traditions, spirituality, and even the tension between Maya people and archaeologists.
- The 60-minute film, En el Camino de Nuestros Antepasados (On the Road of Our Ancestors), was shot on location at sites around Yucatán and directed by Sergio Garcia Agundiz in 2008. The film was recorded in Maya and has both Spanish and English subtitles.
In 2009, InHerit forged partnerships with government institutions, NGOs, and indigenous leaders – including the Department of Indigenous Education and the Institute of Culture – to share the DVD with children throughout the state of Yucatán. By the end of the school year, over 1500 students in more than 75 communities had enjoyed the film and learned about Maya culture past and present.
- In the Yucatán Peninsula, water is life. The region’s porous limestone foundation makes flowing rivers and lakes sparse. But the environment has developed its own unique solutions to this problem: cenotes. Cenotes are sinkholes in the earth in which water collects, creating a steady source of drinking water (so clean, the ancient Maya considered it zuuy ha’, pure sacred water). Surrounded by Caribbean salt waters, cenotes are just one major aspect of the Peninsula’s watershed, along with mangrove swamps and an underground water table.
Five short documentaries produced by InHerit’s non-profit partner, Manejo Cultural in Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, explore the importance of water conservation to their community and the ways in which water and Maya culture are today, and always have been, intertwined.
- The Caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico has gone through incredible changes since the 1970s. Once a sleepy region heavily populated by Maya people who lived off of the rich resources of the sea and forest, today this “Riviera Maya” is dominated by tourism. The impact of tourism on Maya people has been immeasurable; many today have a higher standard of living (by western measures, at least) but their traditions, culture and heritage have suffered extensive loss.
In the Yucatán Peninsula, water is life. The region’s porous limestone foundation makes flowing rivers and lakes sparse. But the environment has developed its own unique solutions to this problem: cenotes. Cenotes are sinkholes in the earth in which water collects, creating a steady source of drinking water (so clean, the ancient Maya considered it zuuy ha’, pure sacred water). Surrounded by Caribbean salt waters, cenotes are just one major aspect of the Peninsula’s watershed, along with mangrove swamps and an underground water table.
The relative wealth and accessibility of coastal Quintana Roo means that here television is an important tool for sharing information. InHerit has joined with our friends at Manejo Cultural, a non-profit partner, to produce ten episodes of a television program focusing on heritage conservation and broadcast them on a local station (vs. a less accessible cable station). In each thirty minute episode, local experts in archaeology, anthropology, economic issues and the environment break down the dangers facing the region and explore the need for cultural and ecological conservation. They highlight the importance of water conservation to their community and the ways in which water and Maya culture are today, and always have been, intertwined.
Watch Heritage TV episodes here.
Film in Honduras
- InHerit’s long-term collaboration with Arte Acción Copán Ruinas has resulted in more successes than we can count. Among them is the production and showing of numerous films.
Few of the villages surrounding the town of Copán Ruinas have electricity. This combined with endemic poverty means no television, and certainly no movies. Even before InHerit arrived in Copán in 2006, Arte Acción was conducting Cine Campesino, a travelling film festival coordinated by Ronald Reinds, that brought a variety of films to Ch’orti’ communities. When InHerit arrived on the scene, we worked with Arte Acción to continue Cine Campesino with one small change: that the films shown would have something to do with Maya culture and heritage.
Cine Campesino is a huge hit and has been instrumental in sharing knowledge about the Maya past with rural Ch’orti’ people in Honduras.
Small World: Archaeology
- In 2008, InHerit supported a new local television program created by Arte Acción. The weekly program, Mini Mundo: Televisión Infantil (Small World: Children’s Television), included not just themes on Maya culture and heritage, but local environmental issues, arts and crafts, cultural expression, movement, and health. Mini Mundo played throughout the year on a local television station and was enjoyed weekly by children in Copán Ruinas.
Check out a few of Mini Mundo’s archaeology segments here!
- Arte Acción’s incredible flow of artistic volunteers from around the world has also had a positive impact for InHerit. In 2010, in particular, a Dutch filmmaker and volunteer worked with children from several Ch’orti’ communities to create original films on Maya cultural heritage using hand-made stick puppets and sets designed by the kids, themselves! But the piece de resistance? A live-action film of the Maya story of Wuqub Kaqix from the sacred Mayan text, the Popol Vuh, starring children from the village of La Pintada!
Enter the ancient world of the Maya here!