Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

The works of Bruce Grindal teach us many things about anthropology’s humanistic tradition. With examples such as Redneck Girl and “Postmodernism as Seen by the Boys at Downhome Auto Repair,” Bruce Grindal demonstrated how we can creatively engage our ethnographic writing to reflect lived experiences. In this article, I examine Bruce’s influence on my ethnographic writing and collaborative research in the Maya community of San Juan Chamelco, Guatemala. Since 2006, I have worked collectively with a group of Chamelqueños to investigate the story of their local hero, Aj Pop B’atz’. In the sixteenth century, Aj Pop B’atz’ welcomed Spanish invaders to Chamelco in peace, avoiding the death and destruction suffered by indigenous communities elsewhere. Today, he is revered as a model of indigenous identity. Throughout our work together, my collaborators and I sought outlets to share the information learned through our research with the community. In 2012, we co-wrote a bilingual children’s book about Aj Pop B’atz’ for use in Chamelco’s schools. This book offered school children a chance to reconnect with their history, lost through decades of state-sponsored violence. The Aj Pop B’atz’ project, inspired by Bruce Grindal’s legacy, reveals that ethnographic writing can inform creative collaborative projects, making them accessible to those outside of academia and with whom we work in the field.

Publication Title

Anthropology and Humanism