Colonialism is a brutal, grotesque and inhuman form of society. Why? Because it denies full life to people and nature, which it dominates. Hence, the colonization of the Guatemalan territory and its inhabitants, the indigenous people, and in particular women, who are not seen as subjects, but as objects of domination.

Colonialism has established a political structure that sustains it. This is expressed in the ways in which governments in the “conquered” territories use their force as a form of destruction and mutilation of the forms of community governments women and men have organized for themselves. That is, the peoples [end up living] without autonomy or self-determination.

Women in Iximuleu territories are diverse, different, dynamic and, above all, thinking subjects; with feelings and who sustain daily life, which the colony has never recognized. On the contrary, it has rooted its own forms of domination in people’s [societies].

Indigenous women live in different territories, with very different histories, memories and realities; they have faced various levels of dispossession: of their way of seeing life (cosmovision); of their ancestral knowledge in the use of medicines, language, clothing; of their lands and natural resources. [They are] subjected to levels of structural violence, patriarchal violence, racism, discrimination…a continuity of violence.

Indigenous women face diverse and successive forms of historical discrimination that combine and overlap, exposing them to human rights violations, [violations of their] collective rights in all aspects of their daily lives: from their civil and political rights, their rights to access to justice, their economic, social and cultural rights, and their right to a life free of violence.

The various obstacles that indigenous women face include limited opportunities to access the right to work, geographic and economic difficulties in accessing health and education services, access to land, limited access to social programs and services, and high illiteracy rates. The political, social and economic exclusion of indigenous women contributes to a permanent situation of structural discrimination, which makes them particularly susceptible to various acts of violence and death.

It should also be said that in the life of the peoples, and in particular of women, there has been a continuum of resistance, which is expressed in the dynamics of continuity in the defense and struggle for life; not only for people, but also for nature in all of its expressions and relationship dynamics with each other.

With the permission of a K’iche’ grandmother, I take her words. For her: the dynamics and movement of nature is the force for the movement and resistance of women and peoples. She also says: the month of the year that energizes life is the u’kab’ Ik’, that is, the second month, when the winds blow strong, they energize all life that complements itself in its cycles.

Invasion and colonization have been clothed with the argument of the superiority of race, to reinforce the dominion of the invaders and impose economic models of dispossession and death for the peoples and women. These have extended over time and have guaranteed the exploitation and plundering of the goods and resources of Indigenous
Peoples. Faced with this situation, the defense of land, territory and body is increasingly

May the continuity of the struggles, the emancipatory resistance of women, and the reconstruction of the self-determination of the peoples, allow us to recognize each other and put into practice the k’mon chak (teamwork / collectivity) in order to achieve it. In the case of Guatemala, we are four peoples and various nationalities. These are vital collective forces for moving forward.

María Velásquez
K’iche’ Maya

Member of the Maya and Xinka Women’s Space.

Alianza Política Sector de Mujeres (Political Alliance Women’s Sector)