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Extra info for Mayas in Postwar Guatemala: Harvest of Violence Revisited
Jailey Philpot-Munson Over ten years after the signing of the Peace Accords, Guatemala might appear to be out of the danger zone.
Chajxucub’ gained regional renown; on May 24–25, 1978, Panzos people visited the group in Coban, went to Chajxucub’, and held a ceremony at a local home. They then “returned to their deaths” (the Panzos massacre), according to Cuz Mucu. The acute phase of the 1970s and 1980s violence scattered the group of seekers. The options for Mayan leaders after 1980 were clear, in the words of one re-encuentro member: join the insurgency, go into exile—or remain in your community and run the risk of being killed.
These rituals are held for clearing, planting, weeding, and harvesting as well as for extraordinary occasions. To prepare, the communities choose a date, gather at a home which is beautifully decorated with spectacular rustic altars, and invite musicians. Everyone has a role; children are the dancers who enact the songs requested by the mountain spirits; men and women have their separate duties in cooking, praying, and making offerings. This has all been well documented. What have not been documented are the spirit mediums.