In 2015, there was huge controversy when a section of a mound at the Uxbenka Archaeological Site was cleared by Rupert Myles, a resident of Santa Cruz Village. Because the site is sacred to the Mayas, Myles was asked to remove the house he had built on the mound. He didnít, so the Maya tied him up and hell broke loose. Tonight, there is good news for the community because a visitorís centre has been erected atop the mound and is now officially opened to the public. Our friends at PG TV were present for the opening and share the following images.

In 2015, there was huge controversy when a section of a mound at the Uxbenka Archaeological Site was cleared by Rupert Myles, a resident of Santa Cruz Village. Because the site is sacred to the Mayas, Myles was asked to remove the house he had built on the mound. He didnít, so the Maya tied him up and hell broke loose. Tonight, there is good news for the community because a visitorís centre has been erected atop the mound and is now officially opened to the public. Our friends at PG TV were present for the opening and share the following images. News Fiveís Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting

A new visitor centre for the Uxbenka Archaeological Site was officially opened today in southern Belize, some three years after the location was at the centre of a seemingly racial controversy. This morning, there was a celebration of history in village of Santa Cruz in the Toledo District.

Bruno Kuppinger, Tour Operator

ďWe gather here to celebrate the new community museum located here at the Uxbenka Archaeological Site and every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. A new chapter and a great achievement in the development of the village of Santa Cruz, letís put all those issues aside within the past few years. Every moment wasted in looking back, keeps us from moving forward. The only time we should ever look back is to see how far we have come. And the people from Santa Cruz have come far and the road wasnít always paved. Letís learn from the past, letís focus on the present and letís think about the people around us.Ē

Back in June 2015, Rupert Myles was detained by Mayan leaders in the south for desecrating a mound within the Uxbenka Archaeological Site. Myles had constructed his wooden house atop a monument and cleared a portion of the mound to create a driveway to his property. Aside from Myles being forced by the Institute of Archaeology to remove his house, the Maya villagers, including women and leaders, were hauled before the courts. The Santa Cruz Thirteen, as they were referred to, was vindicated of the crime of unlawful imprisonment later that year in December. The installation of the new museum is a huge accomplishment in the aftermath of the contentious issue between the state and the Maya community.

Dr. John Morris, Director, Institute of Archaeology

ďItís the celebration of an extremely collaborative effort between the community of Santa Cruz, ACICAFOC who funded the building, which is an N.G.O. that helps indigenous community, also the work of the archaeologist in the area…came together to try to develop a much more better relationship between the state that I represent, which the National Institute of Culture and History and the Institute of Archaeology and the community here because as you know in the past, there have been very contentious issues regarding the case of Mister Myles. This effort today shows that through dialogue and through discussion and through hard work, Belizeans can resolve their differences, Belizeans can come together as one people to create something very dynamic for all of us.Ē

The project was funded by the Coordinating Association of Indigenous and Community Agro-forestry in Central America, which works with indigenous communities in Central America and the Dominican Republic.

James Mesh, Executive Director, ACICAFOC

ďConservation, preservation and indigenous….these are areas that we work. And we support small community based organizations that are trying their best in preserving culture, protect the natural resources and of course working with indigenous communities. So that is how we came across this association and supported them with this great project; itís a great accomplishment today.Ē

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