Honoring Mayan wisdom, knowledge, and cosmology is a contribution to humanity today.

CONTEXT

When people consider the Maya culture, they picture an ancient civilization that built amazing pyramids but rarely visualize a living culture. Today there are more than 1.5 million people living in the Yucatán Peninsula who continue to practice ancient cultural traditions, their ways of being and understanding of the world.

Across time, Yucatec Maya communities have inherited deep cultural values and a particular cosmology, a way of seeing and experiencing the physical world and the social universe.

More than five hundred years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico and the imposition of Christianity, ancient Maya social and emotional values, attitudes, and beliefs still prevail within contemporary Maya communities, many of which can be objectively observed in the daily cultural practices and social behaviors.

However, the acelerating changes driven by technology, globalization, and material development, as well as political and social forces and vices are rapidly eroding the Maya culture and wellbeing. We are seeing the traditionally aesthetic and harmonious landscapes being rapidly disrupted, relationships being deteriorated and living wisdom disappearing.

In 2012 Baktún was born as an alliance of organizations and individuals with the VISION to conserve the heritage of Maya communities.

Today, we are an initiative that seeks to activate local intergenerational capacities to allow the transfer of knowledge and culture to new generations. We promote the celebration, conservation and transformation of its biocultural heritage, catalysing cultural projects that contribute to the social, economic and natural regeneration and individual and collective well-being of the Mayan communities of the Yucatan Peninsula.

“After working outside my community, I wanted to go back to the place where I was born. So I had to look after it again, to take care and defend it, as my ancestors did: growing or hunting what they ate, building their own houses with what their land gave them. I had already dug my own water well so I was not afraid that the water system outside would stop. I also have my own milpa. That is why I am still here, waiting for my sons to return. ”

Don Francisco, Tixcacaltuyub

LINES OF ACTION

The philosophy that inspires us is honoring and contributing, together communities and institutions, to the conservation of cultural patrimony as a source for individual and collective well-being of mayan communities.

Baktún focuses on three lines of action:

Cultural patrimony, both tangible and intangible, natural patrimony, and regenerative economy.

WHAT WE DO?

  • Community leadership and citizen participation to protect and conserve tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
  • Restoration and conservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
  • Cultural and economic regeneration through the activation of sustainable cultural tourism experiences.
  • Development of cultural and economic projects for local sustainability.
  • Regenerative economy projects for the efficient and optimal use of natural resources.
  • Communication and promotion, nationally and internationally, of the unique qualities and values that characterize the Yucatan Peninsula.

Facts

People

Today there are 1.5 million Maya in the Yucatán Peninsula, the great majority of whom do not consciously identify themselves as decedents of the Maya civilization.

Tangible Patrimony

Out of 2,600 Maya towns in the Yucatán, only 4 of them have a urban development plan.
There is a wealth of pre-hispanic and colonial monuments and edifices, however, funding constraints for their restoration and conservation threatens their integrity.
There is a lack of regulatory framework to mantain the urban landscape of Maya towns.
There is a need to inventory vernacular and traditional architecture for its conservation.

Intangible Patrimony

The abandonment of the milpa (literally, cornfield, the space for transmission, modeling, and appropriation of social emotional values and skills) towards an urbanized way of living has greatly endangered and accelerated the erosion of Maya traditions and cultural practices, including the Mayan language, where we observe a decline in the number of Mayan speakers.
There are multiple and diverse academic studies about Maya traditions, religion, cosmology and cultural heritage, yet there is an escalating need to make this knowledge available and useful forMaya communities.

Natural Patrimony

The Maya forest is the largest deciduous forest in the world.
The Yucatán Peninsula is the second largest reservoir of water in Mexico. It holds a rich biodiversity, including the largest world population of jaguars, and is a critical region for birds and for sustaining bird migration.

“Grandmother would tell us all kinds of stories and tales, her beliefs about the Gods’ behaviors, and how to take care of them and of ourselves.”

CURRENT PROJECTS

Tangible Patrimony

For the restoration, conservation and revitalization of monuments, urban landscapes and traditional architecture

Research and baselines
Investigate, analyze and define the scope of work, strategies, methodologies and tools for engaging communities and stakeholders into the Baktún Initiative.

Integrated urban plan
Design and implement participative diagnostics for the creation of local community committees to become active participants of their urban planning process and implementation of conservation projects.

Cultural normative instruments
Identify existing norms and co-develop the required instruments for preserving cultural patrimony in local communities.

Catalogue of typologies and architectural styles
Record and systematize architectural typologies and criteria for municipal and state level consideration for conservation.

Intangible Patrimony

For honouring wisdom, values, traditions, knowledge, and Mayan cosmology and language as a contribution to humanity today

Mayan Cultural Promoters

Contribute to strengthen local identity processes (resilience, regeneration, natural and cultural evolution, and transformation) through youth leadership networks and intergenerational community spaces for learning and dialogue that bring awareness and contribute to the dignification and about the Maya cultural heritage.

Wisdom, Traditions and Language

Develop community-based participatory projects that contribute to documentation, enable intergenerational transfer of knowledge of Maya wisdom as art and crafts, traditional medicine and healing techniques, gastronomy, language, among others; and promote culture as a source for economic well-being.

“I am proud to belong to the Mayan culture, I identify with my roots and I want people not to forget the wisdom that descends from our ancestors because it is present in all that we are".

Majiver Can Chuc, Mayan Cultural Promoter, 1st. Generation

Natural Patrimony

For the environmental protection of the Maya forest, promotion of sustainable agriculture and fostering of biological corridors.

Flourishing with nature plan
Design and implement participative mapping for creation of local committees to foster active participation in the planning and implementation of sustainable projects.

Natural normative instruments
Identify existing norms and co-develop the required instruments for preserving natural patrimony in local communities aligned with state and federal norms and regulations.

Natural and cultural inventories
Record and systematize natural diversity and agricultural, apicultural and milpa practices in the local communities.

Regenerative Economy

For promoting inclusive, collaborative & sustainable ecosystems which create support structures and strengths within the community that lead to sustainable change.

Food Security
Promote regenerative economy projects for the efficient and optimal use of natural resources that follows the cycles of nature and Mayan wisdom led by Mayan entrepreneurs.

Entrepeneurship Ecosystems
Foster conditions for ecosystems of entrepenurship to thrive in a geopgraphically distributed manner across the Peninsula.

Sustainable cultural tourism
Facilitate cultural and economic regeneration processes through the activation of sustainable cultural tourism experiences within the territory.

RECENT COLLABORATIONS

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