Accepted Paper:

Searching for real "Mam": political issues on civil and indigenous rights among the Guatemala Mam Maya  


Mitsuho Ikeda (Osaka University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the concept of "be indianness" through case study on recent local political debates and conflicts among a Mam Mayan town in Guatemala. To think "be indianness" through their social issue, can be potential for changing their own images.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines their own concept of "be indianness" ( ser indígena in Spanish) relating concept of "democracy"(democracía) through case study on recent local political debates and conflicts among a Mam Mayan town in western highland Guatemala. After the 36 years internal conflict ending in Dec. 1996, the government and the armed rebels unity have agreed with constructing the multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic Guatemala. But this idealistic principle remains only in official papers as political slogan and chiefly is forgotten, or is now transmogrified as commercial slogan in ethnic tourist papers. There is very official bureaucratic approach in which indigenous real political issues are/should be excluded from their cultural arena. Even many anthropological studies point out that modern indigenous political movements are incorporated with not only traditional but also newly invented/interpreted cultural thinking, the politicians, bureaucrats lawyers, and other professionals are familiarize with dichotomist thinking between culture and [real]politics. For them "cultural politics" and "political culture" are uses of oxymoron. To think "be indianness" incorporated their own culture through their political issue, in our case by talking on "what democracy is," can be potential for changing their images. But this process is avoidable to have a certain cultural dialogic intervention by anthropologists that reminds us the history of action anthropology in 1960s.

Panel P026
Indigenous futures and anthropological renewals