Originally published in 1998, Ritual, Identity, and the Mayan Diaspora examines the lives and the continuing ritual traditions of the Mayas in the United States. The book focuses on a predominantly Maya town in rural Florida and shows how members of this ancient Central American civilization use their religious tradition to maintain their ethnic identity in an unfamiliar environment. Bringing together studies of Mesoamerican fiesta or cargo systems, religious ritual and migration studies, this interdisciplinary work describes the religious traditions of indigenous Guatemala, the crisis migration of the 1980s, and the Mayas' daily life in the United States, including Maya women's reflections on their new challenges. The book is unique in its focus on the transfer of the fiesta cycle to the diaspora and its analysis of the behind-the-scenes aspects of ritual. The rise of leadership contested interpretations of ethnic identity, choices about symbolic representation, and maintenance of ties to villages of origin all take place in the context of organizing public ritual events. This book will be of interest to academics of anthropology, history and sociology.
Table of Contents
1. Meeting the Mayas
3. Mayan Men and Women in Indiantown
4. Fiestas, Cargos and Identity
5. Power, Leadership and Sacrifice in Indiantown
6. Toward a Mayan Renaissance and Transnational Ethnic Group
Nancy J. Wellmeier (Author)