Mayan Writers

Fernando Peñalosa

Fernando Peñalosa , born in 1925 in Berkeley, California, is Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, California State University, Long Beach. He has carried out research in California, Hawaii, Mexico, Guatemala, Israel, and Macedonia, and has written and published books in a number of fields. He has published translations from German, Akatek Mayan, and from and to Spanish. The frequent occurrence of the surname Peñalosa is found in the archives of the Spanish Inquisition. His family is descended from a Converso who came to Mexico with Hernán Cortés and the other Spanish invaders in 1520. Yax Té Foundation

Sample stories from
Tales and Legends of the Qánjobál Maya

(Yax Té; Press, copyright @ 1995)

The collection comprises forty-one tales, fables, myths and legends of the Qánjobál-speaking people of the Cuchumatán Mountains of Guatemala, ranging from animal stories to strange encounters with Lords of the Hill, tales of deceit and wonder, and origin legends. Translated from the Qánjobál Maya language of Guatemala by Fernando Peñalosa.

Descendants of those who built the greatest ancient civilization of Central America, there may be as many as 10,000 Qánjobál Maya scattered throughout the United States and Canada, especially in Southern California and Florida.

Yax Té Foundation
3520 Coolheights Drive
Rancho Palos Verdes
CA 90275-6231, U. S. A.

Tel/Fax: (310) 377-8763

Permission to reprint given by Fernando Peñalosa

Yax Té Books
Cleveland State University
Rhodes Tower 1654, 2121 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115-2214
Telephone: (216) 687-4797
Fax: (216) 687-4650


Call for Papers

12 calle, 11-13. Zona 6. Mixco
Guatemala. City, Guatemala.
Fax (011) 502-232-2723


The BÉYBÁL Cultural Association cordially invites
all interested persons to participate in the
which will be held July 28-31, 1998 in Guatemala City.

Indigenous writers who have published works in their own languages (preferably) or other languages, and also non-indigenous persons who have written on indigenous literature of the Americas are invited to submit an abstract of their paper no longer than 3 pages, by April 30, 1998 to give the Organizing Committee enough time to assure their participation. Please include name, address, email address, fax, telephone and title of the paper.

Before the event, the paper should be sent on diskette, or printed on letter-size paper, and should take no longer than 30 minutes to read. The papers will be published at a later date.

Principal topics include:

Indigenous literatures of the Americas

North-South (Eagle of North and Condor of South 
shall come together and work in Peace for all.)

Poetry and lyric song

Prose, narrative, short stories and fiction

Theatre and drama

Oral tradition, myth, legend, history, fable, comedy, counsel

Worldview and indigenous cultures in literature

Methodologies and techniques of writing indigenous literature

Anthropological and sociological aspects of indigenous literature

Editors, publishers, and publishing

Libraries, archives and writers’ organizations

Mass media and indigenous literature

Official languages and literatures in indigenous languages

Indigenous literary currents and trends

Once your participation has been approved, we will send you a conference
Program. Schedule: July 27, arrival of participants; July 28-30, the
Congress itself; July 31, excursion to picturesque places in Guatemala.
In the evening there will be an opportunity to present literary, theatrical,
dance, music or other performances from Guatemala and the countries of
origin of the participants.

Guatemala, has 23 different ethnic groups, each with different clothing,
language and life style. International participants may wish to bring
their regional costumes, published works, and samples of their art to
represent the cultural richness of the Americas.

There is a nominal fee of Q.50.00 for Guatemala participants and
$20.00 (U.S) for those from other countries.

Participants will have to seek financial support for their
attendance in their countries of origin.

For further information, contact:

Gaspar Pedro González, (General Coordinator)
Fax: (011) 502-232-2723, Guatemala.

Call for Papers


Asociación Cultural Béybál
12 calle, 11-13. Zona 6. Mixco
Guatemala. City, Guatemala.
and The Béybál Cultural Association cordially invites
all interested persons to participate in the



JULY 27-30, 1999

Papers will be accepted from indigenous writers, preferably those who have published in their native languages, but also from literary critics, academics and researchers from all countries. The principal topic will be the following:

Indigenous literature of the Americas


Prose, narratives, stories, fiction

Oral tradition, including myths, legends, fables, oral history

Indigenous world view and culture in literature

Form and content of indigenous literature

Methodology and techniques of indigenous literature

Anthropological aspects of indigenous literature

Pubishing and publishers

Libraries, archives, indigeous writers’ organizations

Cultural and language politics in the Americas

Schools and literary currents in indigenous literature

Intererested persons should send a summary of their paper, in an indigenous language, Spanish or English, not to exceed 3 pages before June 30, 1999 to the address below. They should later send the paper printed or on diskette, approximately 10 pages in length, together with the following information:

Name, address, telephone, fax number, email address and the title of the paper. All the papers will be incouded in a publication which will be sent to all the presenters after the Congress.

The program: once we have recorded the information, we will be sending you more detailed information about the program, which will take the following general form:

July 26. Arrival of participants.

July 27-29 Inauguration and conduct of the Congreso.

July 30. Visit to indigenous communities and participaion in a Maya Ceremony.

In the evenings there will be an opportunity to present various cultural and literary activities such as recitals, theatre, dance, and music of the countries of the participants, including Guatemala.

Participants are encouraged to bring their literary and artistic works, as well as typical native dress.

The Congress has no funds to support participants.

We await your response, wishing you Swatxílal hekúl, peace in your hearts, and may peace reign under the Face of the Sky and on the Face of the Land of America.

For further information contact:

Gaspar Pedro González, Coordinador General
Tel. 232-1107 y 232-0125
Fax: 230-0591 y 232-2023.

Asociación Cultural Béybál

12 calle 10-27, zona 1, Guatemala, Guatemala, C.A.

Tel/fax: 232 2723







Distinguidos amigos:

La Asociación Cultural Béybál y el Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes
tienen el honor de saludarlos desde Guatemala, y convoca a todos los interesados a participar en el SEGUNDO CONGRESO DE LITERATURA INDIGENA DE AMERICA, que se llevara a cabo en la Ciudad de Guatemala,

del 27 al 30 de julio de 1999.

Podrán participar los escritores indígenas que hayan publicado (preferiblemente) trabajos literarios en sus idiomas maternos. También podrán participar críticos literarios, profesores, estudiosos sobre literatura indígena de América e investigadores sobre esta materia decualquier país.

Los principales temas son:Literatura indígena de América.

Poesía, cantares, lirismo.

Prosa, narrativa, cuentos, ficción.

Tradición oral, mitos, leyendas, fábulas, historias habladas.

Cosmovisión y la cultura indígena en la literatura.

Formas y contenidos de la literatura indígena.

Metodología y técnicas de la literatura indígena.

Aspectos Antropologicos de la literatura indígena.

Las ediciones, los editores, las editoriales.

Bibliotecas, archivos, organizaciones de escritores indígenas.

Políticas culturales, idiomas oficiales,
idiomas indígenas en América.

Escuelas, tendencias, corrientes literarias indígenas.

Otros temas relacionados con la literatura indígena de América.

Los interesados deberán enviar un resumen de su ponencia, antes del 30 de junio de 1999 a la comisión organizadora, ya sea en idiomas indígenas, en castellano o en inglés. El resumen no deberì exceder de tres paginas tamaño carta, posteriormente deberán remitir la Ponencia completa en diskette o impresa, la cual deberì ser de diez paginas aproximadamente, tamaño carta.

Pueden asegurar su participación enviando los siguientes datos: Nombre, dirección, teléfono, fax, correo electrónico, y el título de la ponencia.

Todas las ponencias serán incluidas en una publicación
que se harán llegar a los autores después del evento.

El programa: al tener los datos registrados, les estaremos enviando de vuelta, especificaciones y el programa de actividades que se resume así:

26 de julio, llegada de los participantes.

27-29 julio, inauguración y desarrollo del Congreso.

30 de julio, visita a comunidades indígenas y participación en una Ceremonia Maya.

Por las noches habrá oportunidad de desarrollar actividades culturales y literarias, recitales, teatro, danza, música tanto de Guatemala como de los lugares de procedencia de los participantes.

Los participantes, podrán traer muestras de sus obras literarias, trabajos artísticos y trajes de sus propias comunidades.

Soporte económico: las personas que necesiten del soporte económico para realizar el viaje y participar en el congreso, deberán hacer las gestiones en sus respectivos paises, instituciones o universidades para que los patrocinen.

Al agradecer su amable respuesta, les deseamos Swatxílal hekúl (paz en sus corazones) y que la hermandad reine bajo la faz del cielo y sobre la faz de la tierra americana.

Guatemala, enero de 1999

Para mas información, comuníquese con:

Gaspar Pedro González, Coordinador General Tel. 232-1107 y 232-0125
Fax: 230-0591 y 232-2023.

Asociación Cultural Béybál

12 calle 10-27 zona 1 Guatemala.

Tel/fax: 232 2723

Fernando Peñalosa

Yax Té Foundation
3520 Coolheights Dr.
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275-6231

Tel/Fax (310) 377-8763
Yax Té Foundation

Yax Té Books
Cleveland State University
Rhodes Tower 1654, 2121 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115-2214

Telephone: (216) 687-4797
Fax: (216) 687-4650

Yax Té Contact

Victor Montejo



To view IPL in Mayan, please click here:

To view Mexico in Mayan, please click here:

To view Guatemala in Mayan, please click here:

Victor Montejo is a Jakaltek Maya originally from Guatemala. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1993 from the University of Connecticut, USA. Victor Montejo is currently a Professor of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis. His academic interest focuses on indigenous people of Mesoamerica and have worked extensively on Latin American diaspora, human rights, migration and transnationalism, comparative studies, ethnicity, indigenous worldviews and native knowledge, and indigenous literatures.

Current projects: Indigenous community development, rural development, sustainable development, cultural/economic/political self-determination, cultural resource management, poverty alleviation strategies. Vicror Montejo has been a columnist for a national newspaper in Guatemala and obtained First Honorable Mention for Best Column in Native Americas, Cornell University.

Native American Journalists Association. In 2000, his Voices from Exile: Violence and Survival in Modern Maya History obtained the National Award: Race, Ethnicity and Politics Award, American Political Science Association, for Washington D.C. In 2003, Victor Montejo obtained a Fulbright Scholars Award, Research and teaching in Guatemala, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Central America.

Bak’tun 13 Festival

Mayan Civilization

Mayan Life

Mayan Rabbit Stories

Maya of Guatemala


Frontera de la Palabra

Palabra Conjurada – First Mayan Book on the Internet

in English , Spanish, Tzeltal, Tzotzil & Chol)

Second Mayan Book on the Internet

Ti slajebalxa lajele – Tzotzil

Third Mayan Book on the Internet

Sab xojob – Tzeltal

Fourth Mayan Book on the Internet

Jich ya xk’ayin te lajele – Chol

Fifth Mayan Book on the Internet

Nichim vayichetik – Tzotzil

Sixth Mayan Book on the Internet

Sk’op Ajawetik – Tzeltal

Seventh Mayan Book on the Internet

Sbel sjol yo’nton ik’- Tzotzil

Eighth Mayan Book on the Internet

Sakubel k’inal jachwinik – Lacandona

Ninth Mayan Book on the Internet

Spisil k’atbuj – Tzeltal

Books by Mayan Authors (en Espanol)

Anos de Carnaval

Asi canta la merte

DiS Fra~cEs

La aurora lacandona

Memoria del viento

Nudo de Serpientes

Orquidea de suenos

Tiempo a contrapunto

Tierra de dioses

Tiro de Gracia

La ultima muerte

Palabra de Ajawes

Todo cambio

Vapor de luz


December 21, 2012, signals the much-anticipated passing of the “13 B’ak’tun” in the ancient American indigenous system of time keeping. As we approach the Mayan Calendar day that marks the turn of eras, Dr. Victor Montejo offers a fascinating presentation on the deep meaning of millennial Maya culture and history from the perspective of a noted Native scholar and author.

Victor Montejo is a Jakaltek Maya originally from Guatemala. Previously a professor and chair of the Native American Studies Department at the University of California, Davis, Dr. Montejo now lives in Guatemala. He was formerly Minister of Peace in the Guatemalan Republic. Montejo also served as a member of the Guatemalan National Congress from 2004 to 2008. An internationally recognized author, Montejo’s major publications include Testimony: Death of a Guatemalan Village; Voices from Exile: Violence and Survival in Modern Maya History; Maya Intellectual Renaissance: Critical Essays on Identity, Representation and Leadership; Popol Vuh: Sacred Book of the Mayas; and Q’anil: Man of Lightning. His current projects focus on indigenous migration and transnationalism, as well as in developing a curriculum in Native knowledge and epistemology in his new manuscript, Mayalogue: An Interactionist Theory of Indigenous Cultures.

Sculpted Stones (Piedras Labradas)

“Lost in the jungle—
several millennia
of history,
and forgotten by men—
shining millennia
of victory.

The Maya and their glyphs
stand as one
like fathers and sons
measuring the present
in the easy-going eyes
of the tourist
who stands by a stele
in Tikal stroking
a round glyph
which bares its teeth
to the onlookers
as if saying:

‘After two thousand years,
we’re still on our feet
among the silken
of time.”

This is what the future archeologist will say
whose contemporaries
happily measure ancient skulls
and rejoice in uncovering a new tomb

While the same day, nearby,
new graves are opened by the hundreds
filled with poor campesinos, Maya
who have fallen on top of the hieroglyphs.


This collection of poetry comprises twenty-six poems by Victor Montejo of the Jakaltek Maya of Guatemala. They vividly express the values of traditional Mayan culture, while at the same time exposing the brutal 30 year war of extermination which his people have endured.

Victor weaves a story of how it feels to live in exile, using both comedy and scathing irony. He describes the clash of cultures with lyric intensity. He, like Rigoberta Menchu, knows first-hand the brutality of being Indian in the land of his ancestors.

At the present time Victor is teaching anthropology in the United States. Thanks to his publisher (Curbstone Press) I am able to share with you some of his beautiful work.


Interrogation by the Ancestors/Remembrance

“We, their descendants,
have been duped
so many times
by foreigners
who’ve specialized
in confounding
and jumbling up our histories.We can neither take it lightly
nor accept it
because we,
the native peoples,
are the ones they disfigure.

Just think:

What can we say
to the ancients?”

Yet today we Maya
remain hushed up
and have even forgotten the message
that might inspire us to break the silence.

That’s why if our ancestors came back to life
they’d give us thirteen lashes
to cure the amnesia of centuries
which has made us forget our names.


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