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#523477 - 05/10/17 06:16 AM Digital Caste War project  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 54,925
Marty Offline
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In keeping pace with technology, SJC History Department launches digital Caste War project

St. John’s College (SJC) made a bold step today into the digital world, which has for a while now been the domain of at least a generation of Belizean youth, who are connectivity-conscious, and are deeply engaged in cyberspace activities on smart phones, tablets, laptop computers and other on-line tools. Now in its 130th year, SJC, in launching its History Department’s Caste War Project this afternoon, seeks to employ digital learning to reclaim the mostly overlooked history of the Caste War of Yucatan 1847-1901, which has had significance influence on the demographics of the northern districts of Orange Walk and Corozal.

The statements made, and the nationalistic sentiments expressed, at the ceremony during the launch of the project reflected a revolutionary acceptance of responsibility for an important part of Belizean history.

SJC Headmaster Gongora said she is a proud Maya, and it is important for those at St. John’s College “to recognize where we come from.” Gongora added, “We hope St. John’s College continues to be the leader in the teaching of Belizean history, Belizeans studies, both for the country and for everyone that surrounds this beautiful nation, Belize.”

Carlos Quiroz, a first, third and fourth form teacher, said, “History teaches us, that the first few human attempts to record living activity to record history came through paintings seen on rocks. The ancient Maya accompanied their recorded history on stellae with equally fascinating images. The European Renaissance invoked the visual experience combined with written philosophies…”

Quiroz said images are equally important in telling stories and igniting the imagination in our classrooms. “Today, Belizean history is dead. It remains a nostalgia for the old and an uninteresting archaic past for the young. Thirty-six years after our independence we remain colonial orphans because we never breathe life into our history. Our classrooms remain dungeons of mental colonial torture. As a nation we have failed to capture the imagination of our young generation. We continue to hoard our stories from our children in high-level academic publications,” he commented.

Quiroz added, “It is almost 3 decades since the internet transformed the sharing of information, yet our history is still stuck in books on shelves. Why isn’t our history packaged to fit our audience, to fit the new generation who are the leaders of tomorrow? Today, our classrooms remain artifacts of the past, while info-graphics dominate society. It is justice to our young generation to make history a visual experience.”

Fourth form student Jaylen Young, who is also a member of the SJC History Club, said that history has taught him many lessons and while learning about Belize’s road to independence, in second form, he not only learned about Belizean heroes, but he had the opportunity to portray one, namely Evan X Hyde.


Young said history is a matter of perspective and noted that “learning African and Mayan history has been a life-changing experience” for him.

Yasser Musa, who heads the History Department, said that today marked the fourth year of the project.

Musa presented the school with a flash drive on which he said there were 1,145 books that he has collected over a 10-year period. He said that if the total value of the books was estimated based on Amazon prices, it is a gift worth over $30,000.

“We are people of the Yucatan Peninsula — what I like to call the hurricane zone. But our hurricanes are not just atmospheric; they are social, economical, political, and yet historical,” Musa said.

Musa added, “… a great part of our narrative of this country argues against the truth of who we are. Our history teaching is still emotionally and psychologically suffocating, still segregated and superficial, still suffering with denial and disrespect…We are children of stone and cassava; children of land and sea, children of feelings and hope. Our education in the new era today of Trump and fake facts must seek to inoculate us from the constant barrage of electronic mental garbage being deposited into our minds like razor blades cutting us up into more pieces, pushing a growing fragmentation and celebration of the anti-society. Every time we ignore our intelligence, we create more sufferings, every time we turn our backs on self-determination, we allow our children to suffer. Education is not what we cover, but what we discover.”

“The very first issue of the Amandala, on August 1, 1969 stated, that the new publication would publish extracts of African and Indian history, so that we can gain greater knowledge of self and kind. The RAM, Revolutionary Action Movement in issue number 11 of Amandala with Fire, dated December 11, 1969, [Musa pulled out a copy and held it up.] — presenting an 11-point program demand on the government, the PUP government; point number 11 demanded that our schools immediately include courses of African and Indian History and matters pertaining to indigenous culture,” Musa stated.

Musa said that SJC published its first National Studies, a Journal of Social Research. This journal eventually morphed into Belizean Studies, and its first two editors were Jesuits, Richard Bulher and Richard Hadle. And since then, SJC has been one of Belize’s vanguard institutions in the field of research and pedagogy, specifically in the area of Belizean studies. “So today is part of a continuum,” he remarked.

“In June 2013, Evan X Hyde, writer and publisher of the Amandala, visited SJC. The story of the X and the Jesuits is for another moment. Let us just accept that June 2013 was a turning point and today we continue to forge a new engagement with the digital generation. And let us accept what the X has done for Belize is gigantic,” he said.

“The Caste War Education Project is just a small piece of the new Belizean puzzle, an atom with ambition. It’s about putting our creativity to work, the engine of our imagination. We are prepared to be wrong, so that we can come up with something original. This project is just one more example of how we fight against cynicism and academic fatigue. Our simple vision is to create an environment for curiosity, so that with one hand we can inspire the youth and with the other we reach out to the community,” Musa further noted.

Musa said reform is a long experience which requires tenacity and grit. “We are in the fight for a new development. One way to fight is to develop a passion in our youth for ideas, and then, to live and develop those ideas. It is our duty and responsibility to teach each other, and to reach out to each other in a spirit of friendship and solidarity,” he said.

He further went on to state, “Today I call out to all the misfits, the cultural activists to find new way to continue what our ancestors gifted us, a legacy of rebellion, resistance, creativity, and survival.”

“The Caste War cost about 250,000 lives, with hundreds of towns destroyed. Yucatan Peninsula lost one-third to half of its population, killed or forced to flee from the violence. For the thousands who crossed the Rio Hondo in the 19th Century, including my great grandmother, Augustina from Santa Cruz…,” he said.

Musa explained that the purpose of the Caste War project is to use knowledge to provoke and to debate, to think critically, to act, to believe in community and society.

“For modern Belize, the issue of land rights, human rights, culture and labor are very real in 2017 as they were in 1847 when the Caste War erupted. If you don’t believe it, ask two questions: Why is Efrain Rios Montt still free and why is the American Sugar Refinery here?” Musa said, ending his presentation.

In an interview after Musa’s presentation, one reporter asked him why is the Caste War important. Musa responded, “It is important for many reasons: (1) the entire north of our country was shaped by that war. Not just in terms of the people, which is very important — the Maya people, but important from a boundary standpoint. That’s when the boundary between Mexico and Belize had to be negotiated, because both the imperialist powers, the British on one side and the New Mexican state, were in a panic – ‘these Mayans are going in and out, let’s hurry seal up the boundaries’. So that had to be defined.

“How can a war which lasted 54 years — 250,000 people dying — hundreds of towns destroyed. How can that be erased from our intellectual, social and psychological memory? So, we are not being subversive. The system is subversive. It’s subverting the truth. We are trying to say that the things we are presenting now, we are not trying to say that is the truth; we are just trying to point out that the approach we’ve been taking in teaching history and social studies is a failure. Let us accept that. That’s a part of our responsibility as people who are in the system. It has failed and we need to fix it and design it. But the bigger challenge now is to design it for the digital generation. So, while we are wasting our time with foolishness, the world is advancing in front of us and now we have a bigger problem in front of us. How do we teach kids that are into video games that are far more complex than the classroom system? So that’s another problem.”

Musa explained that the website is available to everyone. “Belizehistorysjc.com. Anybody can go there. Any teacher, any principal, any student can go there and download. For example, we just put up our Caste War section and that has over 40 books, eBooks, free. It has all the info-graphics, the images that are easy to understand and the designs. It has videos of the residents in the community that we’ve interviewed. These are things like modules that students can go and do. Students can go and search their own history. So this is just a model and I think that this is the best approach where it is open and it’s there. It’s no closed system,” he said.

“Well, I presented 1,145 books that are on here. Now the challenge will be for people to go and open it up and read it and engage, because sometimes we get into this frenzy which I now call like a Trumpian modality, which is just say, sign it and let’s go. The world has changed. But we have to do work. This requires a lot of work and I am just making it very easy for people to open a book. This is a just a gift as a symbolic gesture so that we can reach that bridge I was talking about to the digital generation,” said Musa.

The future is history!

by Yasser Musa

Today we launch the Caste War educational project, which includes an exhibition, a web portal, and a brochure and more importantly we go on the public record about how we need to disrupt our school system.

Today marks four years, a high school cycle, of our project to transform the way we teach history. We pause to present a full curriculum on Latin American and Central American history all designed, curated and prepared by our small history department.

Today we present a gift of 1145 eBOOKS on flash drive for our school.

We are people of the Yucatan Peninsula, what I like to call the Hurricane Zone. But our hurricanes are not just atmospheric, they are social, economic, political and yes historical. Today I want to snatch a few seconds of your precious time and share some thoughts.

I am grateful today. Grateful for example for the trust of the residents of San Lazaro who loaned us two of their most precious and well preserved historical artifacts. Grateful for the presence of Clinton Canul Luna Uh, a beautiful mind, whose weekly submissions to the Amandala are now beyond twelve years. Grateful because my young colleagues Carlos Quiroz, Vianney Novelo, and Delmer Tzib recognize the importance of collaboration.

For those who are prepared to think deeply it is clear that a big part of the narrative of this country argues against the truth of who we are. Our history teaching is still emotionally and psychologically suffocating, still segregated and superficial, still suffering with denial and disrespect.

Am I not African? Am I not Maya? And from these root line identities, am I not Belizean and all hyphenation in between? And it is at this hyphenated intersection where learning and curiosity live, a space to grow and discover ourselves. Let us not mix metaphors, we are children of corn and cassava, children of stone and fire, children of the land and the sea, children of healing and hope.

Our education today, in the new era of Trump and fake facts, must seek to inoculate us from the constant barrage of electronic mental garbage being deposited into our minds like razor blades cutting us up into more pieces, pushing a growing fragmentation and a celebration of the anti-society. Every time we ignore our intelligence we create more suffering. Every time we turn our backs on self-determination we allow our children to suffer.

Education is not what we cover, but what we discover.

The very first issue of Amandala on August 1, 1969, stated that the new publication would publish extracts from African and Indian history “so that we can gain greater knowledge of self and kind.”

The RAM (Revolitical Action Movement), in issue no. 11 of AMANDALA WITH FIRE, dated December 11, 1969, presented an 11 point program, demands on the government. Point No. 11 demanded “that our schools immediately include courses on African and Indian history and matters pertaining to an indigenous culture.”

On 1st January 1973 St. John’s College published its first National Studies – a journal of social research and thought, this journal eventually morphed into Belizean Studies. Its first two editors were Jesuits Richard Buhler and Richard Hadel.

And since then SJC has been one of Belize’s vanguard in the field of research and pedagogy, specifically in the area of Belizean studies. So today is part of a continuum.

In June 2013 Evan X Hyde, writer and publisher of the Amandala, visited St. John’s College. The story of X and the Jesuits is for another moment. Let us just accept that June 2013 was a turning point and that today we continue to forge a new engagement with the digital generation. And let us accept that what the X has done for Belize is gigantic.

The Caste War educational project is just a small piece of a new Belizean puzzle, an atom with ambition. It is about putting our creativity to work, the engine being our imagination. We are prepared to be wrong, so that we can come up with something original.

This project is just one more example of how we fight against cynicism and academic fatigue. Our simple vision is to create an environment for curiosity, so that with one hand we can inspire our youth and with the other we can reach out to our community.

Reform is a long experience requiring tenacity and grit. Let us not take things for granted. We are in a fight for a new development. One way to fight is teaching our youth to develop a passion for ideas and then to live to fulfill those ideas.

It is our duty and responsibility to reach out to each other in a spirit of friendship and solidarity, to work in a frame of collaboration and cooperation. So today I call out to all the misfits, the radicals, the progressives and the cultural activists to find new ways to continue what our ancestors gifted us – a legacy of rebellion, resistance, creativity and survival.

The Caste War cost about 250,000 lives, with hundreds of towns destroyed. The Yucatan Peninsula lost 1/3 to 1/2 its population, killed or forced to flee from the violence. For the thousands who crossed the Rio Hondo in the 19th century, including my great grandmother Agustina from Chan Santa Cruz, we are the descendants of faith and fight. This project is a gift, so please help us, keeping the giving and expanding its reach and intention.

The Caste War educational project is an opportunity to use knowledge to inspire, to provoke, to debate, to think critically, to act, to believe in community and society. When we share ideas we bring the human experience into play. I like to think of it as ping pong. I love ping pong. Ping pong is like history, back and forth, a focused collaboration, the ball sometimes can seem like the moon, and sometimes like the sun.

For the students I say, put the QUESTION first. Don’t worry too much right now about answers, BELIEVE IN THE QUESTIONS. When you take intellectual responsibility, it means analyzing the official, established portrayals of history, but it also means that one must dig deeper into a critical circus of the mind and heart,to reflect and reexamine the hidden and not so hidden sources of power that actively seek to destroy who we are.

For modern Belize the issues of race, land rights, human rights, culture and labour are very real in 2017, as they were in 1847 when the Caste War erupted. If you don’t believe it, ask two questions: why is Efrain Rios Montt still free? And why is the American Sugar Refinery (ASR) here?

Amandala


#523631 - 05/19/17 05:27 AM Re: Digital Caste War project [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 54,925
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline


Video: SJC Caste War Project, on Open Your Eyes



The Contested History of Marcus Canul

In Orange Walk at the Banquitas House of Culture they spoke about Marcus Canul, who, depending on who you listen to, is either a villain or a hero of the Caste War in the late 1800's.
Students and Researchers gathered and discussed all sides of this piece of contested history:

#523659 - 05/20/17 07:27 AM Re: Digital Caste War project [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 54,925
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Maya History of the Guerra Social Maya (Caste War)

The red and yellow show the areas under control of the independent Yucatec maya communities during that era. Today the Yucatec Maya are still found in Belize mainly in Corozal,Orange Walk and Cayo. Mostly elders speaking Maya and the younger generations speaking Spanish and English. Somos un pueblo Maya vivo todavia en Belize . The Yucatec Maya in Belize Wayano'one (We are here) ,Kux'ano'on (we are alive) ,toone masehualoon (We are Maya).

Information for the picture courtesy of:

Saint Johns College:
http://www.belizehistorysjc.com/

Simply Belize:The Yucatec Maya:
http://www.simplybelize.org/episode02.html

Belize Northern Maya:
http://www.northernbelize.com/cult_mayan.html


A reaction to museum day in Orange Walk, 18 May 2017

Hugo Carrillo Cocom is an angry young man full of intellectual passion on the quest to help fashion the true historical imperative, the right condition for historical facts to blossom at the right time. History is not just a series of great events perpetuated by great ideas at the right time by ordinary men whom circumstances forced to be extraordinary figures. In the age of alternative facts, in the era of intellectual darkness, in the age where moral erosion has saturated the national landscape with corruption, this, as in any other age, is the right time for us to question whom we really are, where are we going, what is a Belizean. We need the questions to search for answers to discover whom we really are as a nation, as a people and as individuals. We then write with indelible ink our history in the conscience of the nation but more importantly, in our souls. As a nation of immigrants, many times in our own land, in the age when the despicable monster of racism rears its ugly head, this is time for us to question. Eventually we will get semblances of answers by those, whom like Hugo, dare to pursue our true Belizean history through the eyes of Belizeans satisfying intellectual curiosity. The basis of our present written history is seen through blue eyes that justified their greed and reckless exploitation of our national resources. They substituted indigenous Maya history with perceived myths. Historical lies cannot flourish forever because the Maya temples are too tall, our writing too complex, our calendar very accurate and we the descendants of the Mayas will not be silent spectators any longer to historical myths about ourselves in our own land. Many of us now have the tools to shout our truth and uncover the true Mya historical identity not for the tourist but for ourselves. Our legacy of resistance will never die as long as we are here.

In order for us to go forward we need to go backwards. We need to know and understand whom we are so that we can forge a true democratic Belizean nation where our national resources serve all and not just a select few.

Our educational system is anchored in colonialism. Our system of governance is a carry-over from obsolete British roots that is not even functioning in Britain and our judiciary system has failed the nation. Thugs rule the streets at night and the parliament during the day. Our major institutions are tottering, our established Belizean historical facts are tainted by the musket of the conqueror but our indigenous blood is washing it clean for the true Belizean history to emerge. This is the other side of History, a misnomer because it is not his story, it is our story. With intellectual passion, Hugo Carillo delves into the essence of the soul of the Yucatec Maya, paves a lithic literary path for understanding whom we are today. This is not an easy task because the subject covers volumes in libraries not easy to reach. The abuelitos, tatitos and chichis, jealously guard the last essence of our oral history that cover more material than the written word. They are sentinels of our sentiments and ferociously cling to our indigenous pride and dignity not even permitting death to rob us of our spirit of resistance. We must honor them by becoming them and thus strengthening whom we are in order to survive and resist as we have done for over 3,500 years here in our own land.

A topic of this magnitude needs more than the allotted linear time but the urgency of the message forces one to abbreviate and encapsulate. Content is shrunk but not the message. The Baymen called us rebels and bandits, drunks and lazy but the spirit of our rebellious freedom fighting ancestors still survives in us today, sometimes hidden so deep that we do not notice it. We did not go to Europe to attack them, they came here and took away our land, killed our ancestors, destroyed some of our temples to utilize the same material to build their European temples, enslaved our people, sold us into slavery, burnt our sacred books and raped our women. We did not attack them, Europe is too far from us. We defended ourselves, protected our women and children, hid in the jungles and survived another 500 years to resist.

We were conquered but never defeated, we were killed but we live through our children, we resisted then and it is our sacred duty to resist today. We need more sessions like this to illuminate our historical darkness. Ideas are powerful weapons of the revolution.

I am Marcos Canul, I am Chief Joseph Chatoyer, I am Vincent Ramos, I am Jesus Ken, I am Antonio Soberanis, I am George Price, I am fourth generation Yucatec Maya living in the sweet flatlands in the heart of the Maya nation, I am Belize.





Belize Caste War project by SJC

The history of the Maya of northern Belize today known as the Yucatec Maya. This is the stories of Maya of Orange Walk who are telling their story from their Grandparents about the Guerra Social Maya "Caste War". The Caste War was a Maya rebellion where the Yucatec maya fought against the Spanish and British.

More on the Caste War Project here


#524986 - 08/06/17 06:38 AM Re: Digital Caste War project [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 54,925
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Simply Belize: The Yucatec Maya Part 2 Caste War & the myth of the Empty Land

This is a documentary about the Maya of Northern Belize who belong to the group known as the Yucatec Maya . The Yucatec Maya are mostly found in Corozal,Orange Walk and Cayo . This part speaks about the Myth of the Empty land created by the British and the Caste War when the Yucatec Maya grandparents stood up to fight against the British and Spanish . With interviews to a Maya elder Benjamina Catch from Xaibe(Corozal) ,Dr Angel Cal a Maya of Yo creek(Orange Walk),John Morrison etc Note when they speak about the central Maya they mean the Yucatec Maya group known as the Cruzoob Maya and when they talk about the southern Maya they mean the Yucatec Maya group known as Iciache Maya.




Simply Belize: The Yucatec Maya Part 3 Caste War & Sugar Cane

Bio:The Yucatec Maya (Most came from the Yucatan peninsula what is now the Campeche,Yucatan and Quintana Roo States , escaping from the Guerra Social Maya better known as Caste War in 1840's). There have been evidence that their were still Yucatec Maya living in the extreme northwestern part of Belize in the Rio Bravo area before the massive migration of Maya from Mexico. The British reported several attacks in 1788 and 1801 from the Maya. A Yucatec Maya group name the Iciache Maya which territory included northwestern Belize and Southern Mexico resisted to the British expansion of logwood cutting. The Iciache Maya with the help of Maya who migrated to the San Pedro Yalbac area defeated the British Troops in December 21,1866 Which is known as the Battle of San Pedro Yalbac. Others are descendant of the Yucatec Maya group known as the Cruzoob Maya rebels who migrated to Belize from Chan Santa Cruz Areas. Today Many Yucatec Maya work as Cane farmers,milpero,Teachers,Soldiers,Police and other jobs. Note: When they speak in this documentary about the Central Maya they referring to the Yucatec Maya group known as the Cruzoob Maya and when they refore to the Souther Maya they referring to the Yucatec Maya group known as the Iciache Maya.



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