Joseño: Another Maya Voice Speaks from Guatemala. IGNACIO BIZARRO UJPÁN (edited and translated by James D. Sexton): Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2001.

Robinson A. Herrera

Abstract


The fruitful cooperation between Ignacio Bizarro Ujpán and James D. Sexton, initiated some thirty years before the publication of their latest effort, has produced four volumes: Son of Tecún Umán: A Maya Indian Tells His Life Story(1981); Campesino: The Diary of a Guatemalan Indian (1985); and Ignacio: The Diary of a Maya Indian of Guatemala(1992). The volumes follow the daily life and activities of Bizarro Ujpán, an important member of the highland indigenous community of San José la Laguna. While Son of Tecún Umán proved innovative and fresh when first published, testimonial literature has since come under fierce attack, as evidenced by the controversy over the writings of Rigoberta Menchú. David Stoll, and before him Dinesh D'Souza, has questioned the veracity of the information contained in Menchú's account and the role of Elisabeth Burgos as editor. At the heart of that debate lie questions of memory, the use of single indigenous informants, and the methodology of collecting and editing personal journals for presentation as narratives. Sexton tries to set himself apart from that controversy by presenting an explanation of the methodology employed in gathering information. But, ultimately, the work mildly suffers from a lack of background information on the events described, and from Bizarro Ujpán's self-portrayal as a humble member of his community.

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