Kekchi


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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kekchi

 

[Quekchí], an Indian people in Guatemala. Population, more than 200,000 (1970, estimate). The Kekchi constitute approximately 90 percent of the population in the department of Alta Verapaz; they also live in the departments of Izabal and El Peten. The Kekchi language is one of the Maya-Kekchian languages. The official religion is Catholicism, although numerous pre-Christian beliefs survive. The chief occupation is farming, including corn, beans, and tomatoes; many Kekchi do seasonal work on coffee and bean plantations. Handicrafts, including pottery making and weaving, are well developed.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Carter WE (1969) New lands and old traditions; Kekchi cultivators in the Guatemalan lowlands.
Radio-based literacy programs supported by the Church and led by young indigenas reached thousands and spawned study groups aiming for both literacy and "consciousness-raising." Pensemos Juntos (Let's Think Together), for example, was a study guide used in the mid-1970s by radio schools with K'iche-speaking audiences in Santa Cruz and Nahaula, the Kaqchiquel and Tzutuhil communities around Lake Atitlan, Chortis in Chiquimula, and Kekchis in Alta Verapaz.
Since my retirement in 1984 I have served in a number of short-term overseas assignments, such as facilitating reconciliation of a church-split in India, helping Mennonite workers with the Kekchi Indians in Guatemala, and doing a survey of the Hopi mission situation in Arizona.
Dividing the indigenous sample into the main ethnic groups (Quiche, Kakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam and "other" indigenous groups) produces widely different and dramatic results in terms of schooling, earnings, the returns to schooling and estimates of the upper bound of discrimination (or unexplained portion of the earnings gap).
But the company is now fighting a legal battle with the Kekchi and Mopan Maya, who call these jungles their traditional home, but were cut out of the decision-making process.
In the first months of peaceful protest, Ico said, he had joined with colleagues of the Toledo Alcaldes Association of Maya mayors, with Julian Cho's Toledo Maya Cultural Council, and Maya of the Kekchi Community Council.
In this region, the people are mostly Kekchi Maya and ladino settlers who have migrated from the highlands of Guatemala and Mexico since the late 1970s.
Centralia combined the characteristics of several countries in Central America: its population was predominantly Spanish-speaking mestizo; its Indian population spoke Kekchi, one of the languages of Guatemala; and its coastal area was populated by black English-speaking Creoles, as in Nicaragua and Honduras.