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Lacandón Maya in the Twenty-First Century: Indigenous Knowledge and Conservation in Mexico's Tropical Rainforest

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From the ancient traditions of the Lacandón Maya comes an Indigenous model for a sustainable

Having lived for centuries isolated within Mexico's
largest remaining tropical rainforest, the Indigenous Lacandón Maya now live at
the nexus of two worlds--ancient and modern. While previous research has focused
on documenting Lacandón oral traditions and religious practices in order to
preserve them, this book tells the story of how Lacandón families have adapted
to the contemporary world while applying their ancestral knowledge to create an
ecologically sustainable future.
Drawing on
his 49 years of studying and learning from the Lacandón Maya, James Nations discusses
how in the midst of external pressures such as technological changes, missionary
influences, and logging ventures, Lacandón communities are building an economic
system of agroforestry and ecotourism that produces income for their families
while protecting biodiversity and cultural resources. Nations describes methods
they use to plant and harvest without harming the forest, illustrating that despite
drastic changes in lifestyle, respect for the environment continues to connect Lacandón
families across generations. By helping with these tasks and inheriting the
fables and myths that reinforce this worldview, Lacandón children continue to
learn about the plants, animals, and spiritual deities that coexist in their
peoples such as the Lacandón Maya control one-third of the intact forest
landscapes left on Earth, and Indigenous knowledge and practices are
increasingly recognized as key elements in the survival of the planet's
biological diversity. The story of the Lacandón Maya serves as a model for Indigenous-controlled environmental conservation, and it will inform anyone interested
in supporting sustainable Indigenous futures.

A volume in the series Maya Studies, edited by Diane Z. Chase and Arlen F. Chase

ISBN-13: 9780813080246

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: University Press of Florida

Publication Date: 09-12-2023

Pages: 320

Series: Maya Studies