February 20, 2015
Major and Classification
- Frederick Moten, Ph.D.
“The Postwar Subject: I-dentity Development of Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala”
Environment and situation are essential to the development of identity, but what is the role of the individual? Under the Garcia and Montt presidencies (1978-1983) in the mountainous Northern Region of El Quiche, Guatemala, the indigenous people were massacred in a campaign of mass extermination. The Mayan ethnocide plunged the Quiche people into “crisis”, impacting both their self-perception and their concept of indigenismo. This study examines the nature of crisis and how it has impacted the ongoing struggle for Quiche Indians to forge a personal identity that is recognized by Guatemala and other nations. With attention to the narrative, I, Rigoberta Menchu, this body of research examines testimonio literature for subliminal indicators of identity. Then, the paper explains how the behavior of the Quiche people can be used to understand the resilience of many minority groups who forge an identity following crisis. Assuming a link between specific and general power struggles, research results will suggest that the revolutionary agency adopted by Rigoberta Menchu was also taken up by many Quiche Mayans who delivered testimonios, in an attempt to reconstruct identity in the aftermath of crisis.