Encoding Maya Cosmovision: Challenges and Opportunities for Indigenous Researchers in the Global South
Among the many challenges facing contemporary Indigenous communities in the Global South is language endangerment. In Mexico and Central America, state persecution, economic pressure, and barriers that reflect the deep legacies of colonialism led to precipitous declines in language learning among Maya youth throughout the twentieth century. These trends are exacerbated today by migration crises and the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Indigenous researchers have created new strategies, transnational networks, and tools to meet young learners where they are: online. With a new approach to colonial archives, K’iche’, Q’eqchi’, Tz’utujil, and Yukatek collaborators at UVA’s Multepal Project are converting ancient texts like the Popol Wuj into digital tools to promote language acquisition, literacy, and cultural empowerment among youth in Mexico, Guatemala, and the diaspora. Presenters will speak in Spanish, with English-language slides translated by UVA students enrolled in SPAN 4040 (Translation). Audience members are invited to participate in English, Spanish, and Mayan languages.