Shanti Imports

The Mayans


Most Shanti products are made by the modern day Maya in the highlands of Guatemala. The tribes most active in production are the Quiche, Cakchiquel, Tzutujil, Mam, Ixil and Awateko. Occasionally I'm able to buy from the Tzotzil and other tribes in Mexico. The Mayan homelands are Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Belize and El Salvador; in the U.S.A. large communities have grown up in Houston (mostly Quiche), Grand Rapids, Michigan and New Jersey (mostly Mam), San Francisco (mostly Yucatecan), Denver, Florida and elsewhere. Maya is a family of languages as yet unrelated to those spoken by the Aztecs, Olmecs, Zapotecs, Inca, and other Native American groups. All people speak LANGUAGES and deserve the dignity of their mother tongues being referred to as a language, NOT A DIALECT. We all speak some dialect or other, but just as I don't say I speak "Southern" or "American" when talking about my language; no peoples should be degraded by the pseudo-linguistic and politically divisive practice of labeling their speech ONLY a dialect. I have been learning the Solola dialect of Cakchiquel for many years and it has greatly enriched my experience and understanding of the Maya. Most are subsistence farmers and not until the 1970s did they began to create woven goods, arts, and crafts in larger amounts for sale to tourists and foreign business. Guatemala is likely to be the smileyest country on Earth and one feels good to be there.
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