Small town in the South West part of Guatemala
80% of Guatemalans are of Mayan decent
Almost all the people in Santiago Atitlan are of Mayan decent
The linguistic group they belong to is the Tzutujil (pronounced Chuchuchil)
Spaniards invaded it about 450 years ago
There was a temple there that the Spaniards tore down, and they rebuilt a new church there using the same blocks that they had from the last temple. However, the native people thought that there was just a new temple built, and still worshipped it the same.
They worshiped catholic saints as if they were gods they deities they had always worshipped. (Saint Whatever = Deity X)
The natives that lived there called their town Rumuxux Ruchiuleu, which means the umbilicus of the universe; because they believed that they were the center of the universe.
They believe that everything that they do affects the universe. If they do something wrong it will cause all life to stop and the world will stop turning and there will be complete chaos. (This is thought to be why there has been such turmoil in their lives the past 20 years.)
Spaniards tried to wipe all of them out, however they are still there today.
The last 20 years, however, the town has begun to deteriorate. There has been a civil war and a lot of Christian influence, the town has become for Globalized or “westernized.” They probably have internet and movies now. Also, forests around them are becoming extinct for various reasons (environment, people, etc.)
25 years ago
Before civil war and deterioration of Santiago Atitlan
When a Tzutujil baby is born, it is not yet a human; it belongs to the moon and spirit and must be “cooked” or ripened (same meaning in their language) this process takes almost an entire lifetime.
There are 5 layers of initiation throughout your whole life, and these are like layers of bark, once you attain another layer, you still keep your old one.
1. Birth is Dawn...