Over the last few days I grown more on the idea of researching into what causes stigmas (or in Mexico’s case what allows there to not be one or at
least not a noticeable one) behind being Indigenous in Mexico and Guatemala. I would tackle on these specific countries sections in The Wikipedia Article, “Indigenous peoples of the Americas” In comparison to one another these sections are drastically unbalanced in the quantity of information they provide.
The “Mexico” Section, of this lengthy article provides quite a bit of information about indigenous groups that you would find throughout different regions of the country. It also goes into slight depth about how the government interacts with tribes, recognizing their languages and grantings certain rights that protect their individual languages and overall culture. The “Guatemala” Section, is tiny in comparison really only scratching the surface of information potentially available online. This section mentions how the indigenous languages found throughout the tribes of people, do not enjoy “official” status. Meaning they are not represented in Government or in any official capacity unlike in Mexico where some services and documents can be requested in said indigenous languages. Both of these articles really fail to mention how the general public interacts with indigenous groups, and how their culture still plays an influential part of national and cultural identity. Guatemala’s section specifically lacks information on what role the government plays in interacting, communicating with, and representing this portion of their demographics.
The Talk page for this article really seemed to just be focused on correcting links and citations not so much on the information it held. Besides, someone mentioning that the alphabetical order in which countries were listed made no logical sense when wanting to connect the interactions and cultural similarities between different tribes of Indigenous people through, North America, Central America and South America. But, if you look at this source, I would be able to have a basis of information to add surrounding historical, cultural and modern political information about Indigenous Mayan groups in Guatemala. With a closer look to at Alajazeera’s credentials, I would be able to take into consideration the following source. To expand upon the contemporary issues and dsicrimination indigenous people face throughout Guatemala.
One potential research project is the study of how Spanish developed throughout Latino-America and in the United States. How derivations of the language came to develop differently, in some cases drastically due to other influences in their respective regions. Spanish is a unifying aspect of many latin countries and thus many latino-americanos, except Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana who do not speak Spanish prominently. Amongst all these Spanish speaking countries there are slight differences that make one’s nationality at times very differentiable, different accents, different pronunciations, different words, etc.
I want to understand the creolization process that caused Spanish in the Americas to divide from Spain’s form of Spanish. What words were adopted from indigenous languages? which were influenced by african slaves and their respective languages? what impact did English have on Spanish?
A source on Credo states that Mexican-Spanish extends far beyond its borders. That is interesting because in the United States being one of its biggest immigrant communities their “dialect or derivation” of Spanish is quite prominent, in some instances adopting “spanglish” terms created in the United States normalizing their use. Wikipedia offers a generalized summary of where Spanish has spread to globally giving information of what is considered a Spanish speaker, Native speaker, 1st, 2nd or even 3rd Language speaker. It also mentions other forms of languages derived from Spain spoken outside of the Americas.
Another interesting research topic is the interactions and social relations of Indigenous tribes in Latin America, with a focus on Guatemala and Mexico. I want to understand the stigma or lack thereof behind being indigenous in two countries where Indigenous cultural aspects are prominent in mainstream culture. Where it is socially and in certain situations politically “okay” to discriminate against indigenous tribes. In Guatemala demographically, Wikipedia states that both Mestizo and Indigenous populations are close to the same percentage, at 41.0% and 41.5%. Only separated by a portion of the population classified as “white”, 18%. In Mexico, on the other hand the Ethnicity and Race portion states, “Mexico is ethnically diverse; with people of several ethnicities being united under a single national identity. The core part of Mexican national identity is formed on the basis of a synthesis of cultures, primarily European culture and indigenous cultures, in a process known as mestizaje” They do not have a clear definition of who is considered “indigenous” with percentages of the population labeled as such differing depending on the context.
But understanding why interactions and socio-political relations are the way they are is an extremely personal and interesting topic to pursue, especially considering I am on a personal journey of understanding my own ancestry. It would allow me to develop my own thoughts on issues throughout Guatemala before one day exploring my family’s homeland.
I am considering doing my research project on:
- Predominantly Latin communities/neighborhoods in Chicago (Pilsen, Humboldt, etc. ) and how/why they came to be. (Looking at the history and immigration to these areas.) I may extend to see what negative and positive effects having a community like this cause.
- How different people in Guatemala interact with each other. (City vs. mountain and country people) and why it may be negative or positive. I want to examine the history of my country.
I hope to discover more about my city and the neighborhoods I am frequently in but do not know the history of. I am also interested in the various Guatemalan people’s encounters. I know there are differences and connotations to each, but I want to know why and where these dences started.
After searching wiki and credo, I found many sources. Thankfully Chicago is a big city with many documented sources if its history. I found info on the specific neighborhoods history, traditions, residents, etc.
I also found lots of information on Guatemala that I thought would be helpful. This included the differences in ethnic groups, languages, indigenous integration, religion, etc.
Overall, I think my topics are interesting to me and I will be able to find info about both.
One research topic I am interested in is coffee. I’m thinking of having my theme as how has coffee impacted the world economically and socially. Credo mentioned that in 2002 coffee retail sales were $55 billion dollars but the countries that exported the coffee only received $6 billion. Credo also has further readings like “Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World.” Credo mentions that after the 1830s everyone was drinking coffee and it became an important part of their day. Credo also mentions the only twentieth century product marked of higher value then coffee is oil. Wikipedia has a map that shows the United States imports the most coffee than any other country. Wikipedia also mentions that 90% of coffee production takes place in developing countries. Another fact Wikipedia has is that in Brazil over 5 million people are employed in the cultivation and harvesting of over 3 billion coffee plants.
Another research topic I am interested in is the Mayan culture and the Mayan people still present in Central America. I’m thinking of looking at how the Mayan culture is still present in the Central American countries and how they are being treated in the countries. Credo mentions that the Mayans were the only people who developed a form of writing that was part ideographic and part photonic. Wikipedia says that Guatemala conducted a genocide of the Mayan people where in some areas the government killed up to 40% of the total population. The president of that time was sentenced to 80 years in prison but the sentence was overturned due to alleged irregularities in the handling of the case.