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Maya Atlas: The Struggle to Preserve Maya Land in Southern Belize

Citation: North Atlantic Books, 1997, 154

The Maya Atlas was made by the forty-two Ke’kchi and Mopan Maya communities of southern Belize. The maps, text, drawings, photographs and interviews were done by Maya village researchers and cartographers elected by the communities. In their own words and with their own maps, the Maya describe their land and life, the threats to their culture and rain forest, and their desire to protect and manage their own Homeland. The Atlas is an important step in developing a Maya Homeland. The Maya researchers and cartographers made the Atlas so that their communities, young people and leaders would have a comprehensive, village-by-village, regional understanding of the state of Maya natural and human resources and their traditions of living in harmony with nature – what is being lost, and what needs to be preserved and developed. The Atlas is a window to both the ancient and modern Maya world. The Atlas will appeal to people interested in indigenous rights, environmental issues, Latin America, arts, ethnography, traditional knowledge, community-based conservation, and the New Cartography, which involves cartographers assisting local communities to map their own lands and land use.

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