In This Review

Indigenous Movements and Their Critics: Pan-Maya Activism in Guatemala
Indigenous Movements and Their Critics: Pan-Maya Activism in Guatemala
By Kay B. Warren
Princeton University Press, 1998, 296 pp.

Starting with an analysis of activism in one Mayan community, a Harvard anthropologist examines the role of indigenous intellectuals and their influence in promoting the rights of Guatemala's indigenous majority on local, national, and international levels. Focused on the period between 1987 and 1996, Warren sees the Mayan movement emerge into public view, pressing for educational and judicial reform and acceptance of a multicultural and multilingual national culture in a country where the Mayas had been historically excluded from state power and cultural representation. Warren does not directly address all the questions of the Rigoberta Menchu controversy but frankly critiques the original biography, a "highly mediated work, compiled by a Paris-trained Venezuelan anthropologist . . . who had a well-defined political agenda -- [who] did not know Guatemala well and spent only limited time with Rigoberta Menchu." An important contribution to the growing literature on one of Latin America's most complex and conflicted societies.