Monday, March 07, 2016


I just got back from a week in Guatemala, my 5th visit in 15 years. One thing we did there was visit the community of Chuarrancho; the link there is to a web site in Spanish, but the photographs are beautiful even if you don't speak the language and a number of people we met there are featured.

It's an amazing story of a group of indigenous people nearly having their ancestral lands stolen out from under them, and getting back their titles. We sat before a double row of elders, the women in their traditional dress, all holding traditional staffs of office that had been revived during this process. Each introduced him or herself by name, then by office: "Ancestral authority."

I admit that I cried freely hearing these words. These people are so humble and have suffered so much, for centuries, including a nationwide attempt at their genocide. To see them proudly taking up the mantle of their ancestral authority, and having it recognized by the state, is an incredible testimony to their courage, tenacity, and deep attachment to the land.

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