Governed by our local partner the 48 Cantones, the communities of Totonicapan, Guatemala, are predominantly of Maya Kiche’ heritage and have a strong spiritual and cultural tradition of respecting nature and other living creatures. Unfortunately, as with many indigenous communities throughout the world, the struggle is on to successfully pass on traditional knowledge, history and culture to the next generation. Through EcoLogic’s project, ArtCorps Fellow Isabel Carrio uses art and personal expression activities to engage people of all ages but especially the children, in understanding and embracing the importance of protecting the Totonicapan forest as well as Maya Kiche’ history and culture.
ArtCorps, one of EcoLogic’s implementation partners since 2009, provides opportunities for people to express their creative skill and imagination through a variety of artistic mediums—such as theater, music, creative writing and murals—and thus discover new ways of looking at and understanding the world. The video below, narrated by some of Totonicapan’s younger residents, explains how the children learn about their Kiche’ traditions from weekly story circles with their “Pixab” (grandparents), and shows how their introduction to and participation in art activities brings a host of benefits to their lives from understanding and better appreciating their cultural and natural heritage to building their self-esteem and developing their ability to express themselves.