Historic Inauguration and recognition of the Mayan People and Culture
In a groundbreaking move toward national reconciliation and unity among its peoples, the Guatemalan government has formally recognized the Maya and other native cultures in this Central American nation, granting them an official government seat to represent their rights and interests. 13th generation Maya Kiche spiritual leader and head of the National Mayan Council of Elders of Guatemala, Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj, has been chosen by Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom Caballeros as the Ambassador Extraordinary Itinerant of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala.
On Saturday, August 9, 2008, Grandfather Cirilo as Don Alejandro is affectionately known, was formally inaugurated in his new role as Ambassador by President Colom. The date was chosen to coincide with and commemorate the Day of Indigenous People of the World, instituted by the United Nations in 1994. Attended by close to 2,000 people, the event marked an unprecedented step by a head of state to recognize the rights of all of its people and work toward full solidarity and collaboration with and among them.
Inauguration ceremonies began at sunrise on August 9 at the site of an ancient Mayan temple in Guatemala City, where the attending Elders led a traditional fire ceremony in front of 250 indigenous people, mostly from Guatemala. The ceremonies then moved on to the National Palace, the former seat of Guatemala’s government and the building that marks the precise center of Guatemala. A chorus of indigenous children from San Juan Sacatepéquez greeted the attendees. The formal act of bestowing Grandfather Cirilo with the title of Ambassador was accompanied by speeches by President Alvaro Colom and other luminaries. The day concluded with traditional Mayan dances and a marimba concert
Words From Mayan Grand Elder Wakatel Utiw (Wandering Wolf)
Given At The Inauguration Of President Eng. Alvaro Colom Caballeros,
Guatemala, January 14, 2008-8noj, In Our Maya Calendar
Mayan Grand Elder Wakatel Utiw, “Wandering Wolf,” “Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj”
Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj is a CommonPassion.org advisor and is head of the National Mayan Council of Elders of Guatemala, Day Keeper of the Mayan Calendar, a 13th generation Quiche Mayan High Priest and a Grand Elder of the Continental Council of Elders and Spiritual Guides of the Americas. He is also an international lecturer on Mayan Culture.
Don Alejandro is charged as the primary keeper of the teachings, visions and prophecies of the Mayan people, which are very much alive today. He travels the world sharing the message and prophecies of the Mayans. One prophecy says: “Arise, all arise, not one nor two groups be left behind.” Another says: “Let the morning come, let the dawn come for the people to have peace and be happy. Together we are to see our children. Together we are to see our mountains. Together we are to see our cities. Together we are to see our waters.” His message of hope and empowerment resonates with people of all faiths and beliefs around the globe.
Pu b’i ri Uk’ux Kaj, Ukux Uleu, U k’ux ri kiq’ig, ru q’ux ri plo
Aloq minak taq tat, nimak tat nan, nimak tak q’albaltzij ke pe naj, ke pe nakaj nima laj utz ki petik che le rilik che utayic le in siwan tinamit Guatemala. Kulewal ke mayib che we qij 8 Noj.
With the permission of the Heart of the Heavens, the Heart of Mother Earth, the Heart of the Spirit of the Air, and the Heart of the Water, I present my deepest respects to you Mr. President Eng. Alvaro Colom Caballeros and your distinguish wife Mrs. Sandra Torres; to Vice-president Dr. Rafael Espada, Government Officials here present, Congressmen, Authorities of Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Muslim, and other Communities. My great respect to the honorable dignitaries of different countries who are visiting us on 8 NOJ, the day in which the Nahual of the Intelligence is represented in our Mayan calendar. This is a day suitable for the development of great knowledge and wisdom. With great pleasure we give you all a warm welcome to the Ancestral Land of the Maya Nation, Nation of Corn, holders of the sacred books of the Pop Wuj, and the Book of Books of the Chilam Balam.
It is with humbleness that I ask you to stand up to listen to Rey Ki’che (The Ki’che King) considered by thousands of Guatemalans as the sacred hymn of the Maya Ki’Che. At this occasion it will represent the Maya Nation of Guatemala. With the melodious notes of our marimba the Spirit of our Ancestors will be present, such us: Tucum Umam, Tepepul, Zumanche, Kagib Imox, Belegeb Kat, Oxib Kej, Belegeb Tzi, Juan Matal Batz, Manuel Tot, Kaibil Balam, Atanacio Tzul, Lucas Aguilar, Francisco Socuel, Moctesuma, Cuautemoc, Atlacatl, Lempira, Nicarau, Tupac Amaru, Atagualpa and many others, who died in defense of their people.
In the name of the National Counsel of Elders Mayas, Xinca y Garifuna de Guatemala, here in this moment we state that we are a Nation with a millenary culture, a culture that had scientific advances of great dimensions in different areas such as astrology, mathematics, architecture, hydrology, natural medicine and more, but that over 500 years ago these cultures’ normal historical process of growth was violently interrupted. Thanks to the wisdom of the Grandfathers and Grandmothers who gifted us with their spiritual knowledge through the days of the Maya calendar, these brilliant cultures have been able, not only to be maintained but also to be expanded through the world, as well as the dignity of the Maya Nation.
The National Counsel of Elders Mayas, Xinca and Garifuna of Guatemala are here in fulfillment of the Prophecies of the 13 Baktun and 13 Ajau. This Counsel is the true authority whose dignitaries – 275 men and 175 women at present – ¬have always been, are and will be there to lead their communities and to overlook for the well being of their people, in the social order, in the correct application of justice, as well as living in harmonic coexistence with mother Nature. This Maya National Counsel of Elders is, and continues to be, autonomous despite the fact of this autonomy not being recognized by the government. This Counsel of Elders does not belong to any political party nor is it a Counsel of the government. This is a Counsel for the People. This knowledge in the exercise of the authority has been transmitted by our Ancestors in the traditional oral way.
We have several prophecies concerning the time we are living in, and it is in fulfillment of the Prophecies that we are here today. I will mention some of them:
“At the time of the 13 Baktun and 13 Ahau is the time of the return of our Ancestors and the return of the men of wisdom.” That time is now.
Another one says: “Arise, everyone, stand up! Not one, nor two groups be left behind the rest”. This prophecy is in reference to all: rich or poor, black or white, men or women, indigenous or non indigenous, we all are equal, we all have dignity, we all deserve respect, we all deserve happiness; we all are useful and necessary to the growth of the country and to make a nation where we can live with respect among the different cultures.
The Prophecy says: “Those of the Center, with their mystical bird Quetzal, make unite the Eagle of the North with the Condor of the South; we will meet because we are one, like the fingers of the hand.” This prophecy means that the Indigenous People of the North and the Indigenous People of the South, through those of the Center, will come together to strengthen the recovery of the ancestral science; recovery of our identity, art, spirituality and Cosmo-vision on life and death that the different Cultures have.
We the Indigenous People join together in defense of the life of the human species, in defense of the life of our brother animals and the trees and in defense of the life of Mother Earth, because the life of the Planet Earth is in danger. We all know that what is happening in the world now is not a coincidence. As examples: The hurricanes and the heavy storms that are menacing different places in the world; the high temperatures that day by day rise to higher degree, while in other parts of the world the cold becomes more intense; rivers are drying out and others are disappearing; the glaciers are melting; many places in the world are suffering the effects of natural disasters; and all of these are the result of our imbalance with Nature. One other thing, our country, our communities are living under fear due to the violence, the drugs, and confrontations with those who are in search for power and wealth.
It is necessary that the behavior of human beings all over the world has to change; the life of the Planet Earth is responsibility of all and that is why the invitation from the Indigenous people is for everyone, to help save human life, save the planet thus inheriting a healthy future to the new generations. It is for this reason that we invite everyone, indigenous and non indigenous to understand and respect each other; we invite each one to make an effort to change the negative attitude towards the indigenous and towards women in general. We invite each minister, each public employee, to work for the eradication of racism, discrimination and the inequality that exist in our country.
The Mayan Prophecy says: “Let my big Melody play, let my small Melody play, let my dancers loose, let my prisoners be free; these are my valleys, these are my mountains.” These are the words of Rabinal Achi. Why do I say “my valleys and mountains are prisoners”? Because they are being used as centers for nuclear testing, because they are being perforated without compassion, drawing the blood of Mother Earth, extracting her oil and minerals that only increase the contamination and bring about destruction. The mountains are prisoners of men because with the chainsaw of the big monopolies are murdering its trees, and with it go the animals that inhabit them. They say that we the indigenous, the country people, and the poor Ladinos are the ones killing the trees, and only for the small amount of wood that we use for cooking our sacred nourishment. This is not true. One can never compare the use we make of the trees with the commercial objectives that the big corporations have with the trees. It is not true that we the poor and the indigenous are the ones who are killing the trees when we are not even owners of land. This way of thinking is simply part of the same racism. It is easy to blame the weak. From the Maya Cosmo-vision point of view, no one owns the land; we are just one more element of life and of Nature, and this is why we are inviting every human being to help save our Mother Earth.
According to the Maya Long Count Calendar, we are finalizing the 13 Baktun and 13 Ahau, thus approaching the YEAR CERO. We are at the doorsteps of the ending of another period of the Sun, a period that lasts 5,200 years and ends with several hours of darkness. After this period of darkness there comes a new period of the Sun; it will be the 6th one. In each period of the Sun there is an adjustment for the planet and it brings changes in the weather conditions and in social and political life as well.
The world is transformed and we enter a period of understanding and harmonious coexistence where there is social justice and equality for all. It is a new way of life. With a new social order there comes a time of freedom where we can move like the clouds, without limitations, without borders. We will travel like the birds, without the need for passports. We will travel like the rivers, all heading towards the same point…the same objective. The Mayan prophecies are announcing a time of change. The Pop Wuj, the book of the Counsel, tells us, “It is time for dawn; let the dawn come, for the task to be finished.”
It is based in this prophecy that I make the following reflection: In present time, we the indigenous, non indigenous and Ladino people still don’t see ourselves as true brothers and sisters; we haven’t reached the place where there is no room for racism, discrimination and exclusion, where we all feel like citizens with dignity. Many don’t believe there is racism, discrimination, and despise towards citizens of indigenous communities, but the reality is that we feel it and we live it every moment. We experience it all the time, as workers and as citizens. I ask myself, “Why is this, if we are all humans, if we all have the same feelings and dignity, and we all are equal?” I think that there is so much to learn still, such as learning to recognize the identity, the value, and the wisdom that the indigenous nations have regarding living a good life. This gives us the inspiration to live and to be a better person every day.
To the many in this country, what we the Indigenous People do, what we feel, and what we think has no importance. The concept they have is that we are ignorant people. But no, we are not ignorant. We are descendants of a millennial culture who has suffered over the years. But one that still maintains great wisdom to the point of having been able to solve our own necessities without the support of the Country, and without return of our taxes.
The future of Guatemala is in our hands. We can help eliminate poverty and the daily exclusion. Each one of us has a relationship with the Universe and that reflects whether our attitudes with others are harmonious or not. The time for change has arrived. The time for understanding each other and to be more human is here. It is the time to collaborate with our country, a nation of a millennial culture. The time has come to understand that we have much to teach the world. The time has come for each citizen Maya, Xinca, Garifuna and Ladino to feel proud of being Guatemalan, and to know that their roots are in this land. It is time to have peace in our souls. How happy will be the day when everyone can feel proud of their roots and work in the positive growth of the Country? When this happens Guatemala will change its history.
Through history it has officially been said that the Mayas are a thing of the past; that they existed in times of yesterday. In this day of the Wajxaquib Noj, the day of the wisdom and knowledge, we want to let you all know that we are here, and we are here present. We have a prophecy confirming this, it says, “We are the ones of yesterday, we are the ones of today, and we will be the ones of tomorrow.” Together the four nations, Mayas, Xinca, Garifunas and Ladinos, together like the fingers of the hand, living in our own diversity; let us build peace. Here we have 8 children, boys and girls. They are a symbol of the four nations that inhabit Iximulew. They represent the present and the future of our Guatemala, where we come to feel like brothers and sisters, all equal, in dignity and with rights.
In the name of the Heart of the Heaven and the Heart of the Earth, The Heart of the Water and the Heart of the Air, in the name of the Grandfathers and Grandmothers and all our ancestors who died unjustly during the process of colonization, and more recently during the 36 years of the Internal Armed Conflict, in the name of the victims of the genocide against the Maya Nation; I have the honor and responsibility to pass on to you this Staff: symbol of authority, the authority that will watch your actions and those of your collaborators in fulfillment of your duties according to the Constitution.
DELIVERY OF THE STAFF
Do you swear, Mr. President, in the presence of our Creator, our Mother Earth, The Spirit of our Ancestors, those who gave their lives in defense of their people, along the 515 years and who died victims of the genocide in times of the colonization and specially those who died during the genocide of the Maya People during the 36 years of internal armed conflict, people such as your uncle Mr. Manuel Colom Argueta? And do you swear in presence of your special guests and the entire Maya Nation of Guatemala to be a governor for all people – Maya, Xinca, Garifuna and Ladina of Guatemala?
Do you Swear, Mr. President, to work for justice and equality among all people and thus be the governor that will make different history, with a future with dignity for all, and not to become like many others, in being the president for a privileged group, or a servant to the powerful businesspeople and the dominant class? Do you swear to lead your cabinet in a way that all members will work to make justice, with a goal in mind, that is to end the discrimination, the racism, and the exclusion of the Maya, Xinca and Garifuna Nations; that day by day we suffer in the institutions for lack of compliance with the laws of the Country and that are affecting us in our daily lives?
Mr. President, Alvaro Colom Caballeros, The National Counsel of Elders Mayas, Xinca and Garifuna of Guatemala know that you have a huge responsibility with the People and Mother Earth; we also know that there are powers, parallel powers, that do not want change; there are people from big monopolies of money, trafficker groups, groups with economic power enriched with the granting of our land during different governments, which have been confirmed by official history. We know also that there are enemies of the people and that the path is difficult. But we also believe firmly in the prophecies that announce change. It is for this reason that we like to reaffirm to you that you will have all the support of the People through this Counsel of Elders always as for as long as you fulfill with the commitments that you have made with the people. The Counsel will be a vigilant of this. The people cannot live on hope; the people need to know that the promises made during the electoral campaign will be fulfilled.
Lastly, IN THE NAME OF OUR ANCESTORS, IN THE NAME OF OUR MOTHER EARTH, IN THE NAME OF THE SPIRIT OF OUR ANCESTORS, IN THE NAME OF OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS, WE CALL FOR NATIONAL UNITY, RESPECT AND DIGNITY TO THE PEOPLE, RESPECT TO MOTHER EARTH, AND FOR ALL OF US TOGETHER TO BUILD A GUATEMALA IXIMULEW WHERE ALL THE NATIONS “HAVE PEACE, MUCH PEACE AND BE HAPPY, A GOOD LIFE AND USEFUL EXISTENCE…LET THE MORNING COME, LET THE DAWN COME” Words of the Pop Wuj
Wakatel Utiw, Wandering Wolf
Moises Castillo / Associated Press
Guatemala's new President Alvaro Colom, right, holds a presidential cane given to him by representatives of the Mayan people.
At his inauguration, leftist Alvaro Colom pledges to work to alleviate poverty.
From the Associated Press
January 15, 2008
GUATEMALA CITY -- Alvaro Colom was sworn in Monday as Guatemala's first leftist president in more than 50 years, promising to fight poverty in a nation where half the people live on less than $1 a day.
Colom, who led Guatemala's efforts to coax thousands of war refugees back home after its civil war ended in 1996, took office in a ceremony attended by world leaders including Presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, who recently clashed over a hostage-release mission.
"Today is the beginning of privileges for the poor, the beginning of privileges for those without opportunities," Colom, 56, said after receiving the presidential sash to the tune of traditional Maya music.
Despite his ideology, Colom said he doesn't want to be identified with other leftist governments in Latin America, including that of Chavez.
Maya leaders, some wearing colorful embroidered blouses and skirts, attended the inauguration.
Former Houston Methodist Hospital heart surgeon Rafael Espada took office as vice president at the event.
"We are going to fight for the unity of the country, for the harmony with our indigenous people," Colom said.
He has promised a broad social agenda that includes building schools and medical centers, creating jobs and bringing security to a country where gangs behead victims and drug traffickers control much of the police force.
Colom plans to recruit business leaders to participate in a pact to improve the economy and alleviate poverty.