Happy Friday the 13th!! Rarely do you hear someone speak those words. In western culture, Friday the 13th is considered unlucky or as a sign of bad fortune. The ancient Mayans, however, considered 13 to be a sacred number. The number 13 was and is used heavily in the Mayan calendar and in ancient mathematical calculations. The Mayan calendar, additionally, is still used among Mayan people groups today. How interesting!
Many people may not know that the Mayan civilizations still exists today. Approximately 6 million Maya people inhabit a large block of Central America, including southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and some parts of Honduras and El Salvador. These people are indigenous to their native lands and the Maya culture has been remarkably preserved in these areas.
According to the U.S. Department of State Human Rights Report for Guatemala, approximately 44 percent of Guatemala’s overall population are indigenous persons from 22 different ethnic groups, many of them Mayan ethnic groups. That’s almost half of Guatemala’s overall population! These groups speak a variety
of indigenous dialects, including K’iche’, Q’eqchi’, Mam, Achi, Chuj, Acateco, Q’anjob’al, Kaqchikel, and many others.
Mayan indigenous people in Guatemala have faced persecution and
discrimination, including lack of effective representation in national politics, lack of quality educational programs designed to educate indigenous people whose primary language is not Spanish, and lack of access to government resources and infrastructure.
Many Mayan indigenous Guatemalans have fled Guatemala to the United States to escape persecution and have applied for asylum.
Between the 1970s and the 1990s, Guatemala was ravaged by a violent and bloody civil war. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of this civil war was the mass killing, or genocide, or many indigenous
Mayan people. Security forces committed acts of atrocity such as bombing Mayan villages and burning people alive. The Mayan people in Guatemala are still suffering the long-lasting and devastating effects of this violent civil war which wiped out a large percentage of the Mayan indigenous population. Discrimination against and lack of government assistance to the Mayan people remain principle challenges that these people face on a daily basis in Guatemala.
In my practice in Immigration Court, I have represented several Mayan indigenous clients, including native Chuj, Mam, Achi, Q’anjob’al, and Acateco speakers. Many challenges come with representing clients whose native language is not Spanish. At Cobb Law Group, we employ creative methods to effectively communicate with our clients who speak native indigenous dialects. The Mayan indigenous people have a unique history and face incredible challenges in their native countries and in the United States. We are passionate about helping these people in their asylum cases or with any immigration needs. If you do need help, please do not hesitate to call our office and schedule your free initial consultation with me!
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