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Activities 2007

Yax Te' staff members regularly participate in programs and projects that disseminate its books and related materials, including the presentation of workshops on the educational use of our materials and other Mayan cultural products. This page contains information about our activities for this year. Use the links below to read about earlier activities.


In August 2007 Laura Martin conducted a three-day intensive workshop in Antigua Guatemala for teachers in the new Mayan Vacation School project, co-sponsored by the Aid and Education Project and several local Maya-led organizations. AEP Director Mark Pitts attended the workshop. The fifteen Maya participants came from six towns and four language groups. The theme of the 2007 Vacation Schools is Mayan Culture and the Environment. All workshop activities related the theme to various aspects of Mayan culture, including the calendar, poetry and oral tradition, Mayan values, and daily occupations. The group learned new techniques for writing poetry, considered the implications of multiple intelligences theory for their students, and studied the use of imagery in Mayan poetry and textiles. In addition, participants did several kinds of arts projects, using recycled and natural materials. Each participant also constructed a personal, handmade book to hold the ideas, notes, curriculum plans, and handouts that were used in the workshop. »more images

In June 2007, Laura Martin was invited onto the Board of Directors of The Aid and Education Project, Inc., and to continue her work related to curriculum planning for the Mayan Vacation Schools. Together with colleagues Ajpub' Pablo García Ixmatá and Aid and Education Executive Director Mark Pitts, she designed a teacher training workshop plan that is expected to be implemented in August 2007. This training program is intended to develop the creative and methodological capacities of some 25 Maya teachers from four different language groups who will teach in the 2007 Vacation School program, using the topic Mayan Culture and the Environment.

In May 2007 Laura Martin visited Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond as an invited guest of the School of World Studies. She spoke about Mayan culture with a group of students participating in a Guatemalan study abroad program and lectured to Dr. R. McKenna Brown's class on Mayan literature. Her talk, on "Parallelism and the Principles of Mayan Aesthetics," related the patterns of parallelism found in hieroglyphic texts, the Popol Vuh, poetry and modern writing by Yax Te' author Gaspar Pedro González and Luis de Lión, and weaving to fundamental Mayan patterns of discourse construction and principles of beauty. This work is part of her on-going research agenda. In addition, she consulted with VCU faculty at the campus art gallery about an upcoming exhibition of Mayan textiles. »click here for a mini-version of the lecture

April 2007 saw the opening of Dr. Martin's exhibition of Mayan huipiles at the Church of the Savior in Cleveland Heights. The exhibition was part of the Arts in the Cathedral Program, and included a well-attended invited lecture on Mayan spirituality. »click here for a mini-version of the lecture The exhibition displayed 18 hand-woven traditional women's blouses from Dr. Martin's private collection. Each blouse, identified with its specific town of origin, was produced on the back-strap loom and decorated with elaborate tapestry brocade or embroidery designs. The illustrated talk related weaving to Mayan cosmology and philosophy and to the celebration of ceremonies related to the Mayan calendar. In addition, a small exhibition of traditional Mayan musical instruments was on display during Holy Week, and some were even played at the Church of the Savior's Good Friday and Easter observances. »more images

In March 2007, we welcomed our friend and colleague Ajpub' Pablo García Ixmatá for a brief visit. He had been attending the Maya Meetings at the University of Texas at Austin on a scholarship. While in Cleveland, Ajpub' worked with Laura Martin on research related to the relationship between Mayan weaving and the Mayan calendar. They also developed curriculum and methodological plans for the new Mayan Vacation Schools project that Ajpub' directs in Guatemala. These schools offer Mayan cultural education during the school vacation for children in grades 1-6 in a several highland communities. The project is supported by Aid and Education, a non-profit foundation in New Jersey that collaborates with Yax Te' on the production of children's materials on such topics as the Mayan calendar and hieroglyphs.

Dr. Martin spent February, 2007, in Guatemala, working with colleagues at the Fundación Proyecto Lingüístico Francisco Marroquín and traveling to Copán, a Classic Mayan site in Honduras. During this time she also completed work on an article on Birds in Mayan Weaving, for a Guatemalan ornithological tourism agency. Read her article at (click on Articles and News).

YaxTe 2007Dr. Martin was also able to bring back copies of the newest publication by distinguished Q'anjob'al novelist, poet, and scholar Gaspar Pedro González. His latest work, El 13 B'aktun: La nueva era, deals with the prophecies and traditions surrounding the ending of the current Mayan calendar cycle, a topic of much modern speculation. It is available now in Spanish from Yax Te' Books, and is expected to be published in English within a few months. For more information, see our featured titles»

In January, 2007, Yax Te' staff began the year with a number of formal presentations. Laura Martin spoke to the Gifted and Talented 6th graders at Monticello Middle School (Cleveland Heights district). Her presentation was entitled "The Lives of Maya Young People Today" and in part described the ways in which clothing is used to mark various stages in a person's life. Several students made comments about what they had learned. "I didn't know woven clothes could be so artistic." "The pictures were awesome." "One day I hope to travel the world. It sounds so fun." "I had fun trying on the [Mayan] blouse. The designs were so pretty." "You seem to have an interesting occupation even though you're retired. It must be cool having friends in other countries and speaking different languages..."

Also in January, Laura Martin spoke to a group of honors students at Ohio State University who were preparing for a study abroad experience in the Yucatán. Her presentation, "Mayan culture for travelers: Time, space, and tradition" explored landscape, cosmology, history, and the modern Mayan revitalization movement.

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