Awiix/Milpa: Corn and Ancestral Knowledge in Kaj Koj A Reflection


Author/Creator ORCID





MA in Cultural Sustainability

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You can find corn growing almost everywhere in Guatemala. La milpa (corn or cornfield) can be a huge track of land, a family garden, or a handful of corn plants growing between patches of hardscrabble earth. Steeped in traditions that date back to pre-­‐Columbian times, it orders the day-­‐to-­‐day for the men and women who cultivate it and reflects a profound reverence for la madre tierra and humankind’s relationship to her, and to each other. “Awiix/Milpa: Corn and Ancestral Knowledge in Kaj Koj” is an on-­‐line exhibit that explores the role of la milpa in preserving the communal and cultural identity of Maya Poqomchi’ communities in San Cristóbal Verapaz Guatemala (Kaj Koj). The exhibit was developed with a team of young people who have participated in photography and creative writing workshops with Paat Itz’at -­‐-­‐ an arts and humanities project based in San Cristóbal. This collection of poetry, interviews and photographs illustrates the sacredness of corn to those whose sustenance depends on it, and their concerns about the loss of the traditions that are essential to its cultivation. “Awiix” is a celebration of the milpa and a forum to share the creativity of the children and young people Paat Itz’at tries to nurture through its work.