Food and identity politics : changes in religion, community, economy and nutrition in a Maya village
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This paper addresses an interesting point of intersection between groups of Maya adhering to the traditional syncretic Maya religion and those who have more recently become Protestants, focusing on the change from farming to wage labor and the rise of the individual. This change is the first conversion that may well be “conquering” the native belief systems of this area known for its participation in the Caste War and its legacy of resistance. With this conversion come not only changes in the monetary system but a complete makeover of the religious symbolism of duality, reciprocity and regeneration. With the mandate from Protestant conversionists, the milpa and its associated rituals are being lost, resulting in a potential nutritional deficit for the rural members of its congregation. I will use data from discourse and food to address these changes using references to ethnohistory as compared to ethnography and ongoing fieldwork.