Central to the Mission of the School for New Mayas is the aim to imbue students with a deeper understanding and appreciation for their Mayan Culture. Reading and writing Ixil and K’ich’e, mother tongues of the students, are taught, as well as Mayan Cosmology. Mayan sensibilities find expression in dance, drama, traditional dress and murals depicting scenes from the Popul Vuh, the epic K’ich’e origin story. Efforts are made to instill pride in the history, in the magnificent works of the ancestors, and in the strength and beauty of Mayan community life.
Mayan calendars, each an original work of art created by students or teachers, hang in classrooms. Students are taught the characteristics of their nawales, universal energies gifted to them at birth, as well as the movements of the calendar’s great wheels.
New Mayans look to the future as well as to the past. They prepare to support themselves, their families and their communities. But, they also know that one day they may be called to defend their lands, Madre Tierra, Madre Naturaleza, from those who would destroy or appropriate them.
Several times a year, Mayan spiritual guides are invited to the school to lead traditional ceremonies. Through these ceremonies and related teachings, students learn the importance of living in harmony with their Mother Earth, the environment and all humans.
Below, students re-enacting story of Popul Vuh, the creation story of the Maya.