Title

The Preservation of Mayan Identity through Syncretism

Presenter Information

Jacob McKinneyFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Spanish

Minor

Biology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Elena Picech

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Since the 16th century the Mayans have had contact with Christianity, which has been mostly through the Roman Catholic Church. The contact has resulted in a range of Christianization, consisting of methods such as teaching and evangelism to forced conversion and brutality. No matter the form of proselytization, the impact on the Mayans has been quite considerable. These outside influences have led the Mayans to syncretize their beliefs with first the Roman Catholics and in more current history, the Protestants. Although both have tried to move the Mayans away from their polytheistic religion in order to more fully embrace Orthodox Christianity, the Mayans have fought to keep their identity. This fight has occurred by means of direct defiance to Christianity through rebellion and violence, but has also been fought more subtly through syncretism. Though defiance through physical confrontation has led to Mayans being pacified by the Spaniards, syncretism has allowed the identity of the Mayans to be concealed and preserved through Roman Catholicism. Drawing from indigenous testimonials, the history of Mayan interaction with Protestants and Roman Catholics, and anti-syncretic Mayans I will demonstrate that the Mayans have preserved their identity through syncretism.

Affiliations

Modern Languages Senior Colloquium

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The Preservation of Mayan Identity through Syncretism

Since the 16th century the Mayans have had contact with Christianity, which has been mostly through the Roman Catholic Church. The contact has resulted in a range of Christianization, consisting of methods such as teaching and evangelism to forced conversion and brutality. No matter the form of proselytization, the impact on the Mayans has been quite considerable. These outside influences have led the Mayans to syncretize their beliefs with first the Roman Catholics and in more current history, the Protestants. Although both have tried to move the Mayans away from their polytheistic religion in order to more fully embrace Orthodox Christianity, the Mayans have fought to keep their identity. This fight has occurred by means of direct defiance to Christianity through rebellion and violence, but has also been fought more subtly through syncretism. Though defiance through physical confrontation has led to Mayans being pacified by the Spaniards, syncretism has allowed the identity of the Mayans to be concealed and preserved through Roman Catholicism. Drawing from indigenous testimonials, the history of Mayan interaction with Protestants and Roman Catholics, and anti-syncretic Mayans I will demonstrate that the Mayans have preserved their identity through syncretism.