Download Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala by Victoria Sanford (auth.) PDF

By Victoria Sanford (auth.)

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Sample text

While my research challenges simplistic conceptualizations of reconciliation often proffered by international agencies, it also suggests that peaceful community reconstruction is possible after genocide. ON TRANSLATION AND VOICE I worked with Spanish-speaking Maya and monolingual speakers of Achi, K’iche’, Kaqchiquel, Q’eqchi’, and Ixil. I chose my translators from among the Spanish speakers I most trusted and believed would not translate through the ideological lens of the army or guerrilla. Choosing my translators from among those Spanish speakers I had already interviewed gave me insight into their understanding of La Violencia and their own interest in understanding it better.

My training in anthropology prepared me to study sociocultural structures from the community to the nation state. I had no training in the archeological skills of site excavation or any osteological knowledge, which was necessary to analyze skeletal remains. As I reluctantly began to brush away the earth, I didn’t even notice that my friend Kathleen had been sent to work with another 32 VICTORIA SANFORD archeologist. Unlike me, Kathleen was well prepared for this type of work because, due to time spent as an x-ray and surgical imaging technician, she had extensive knowledge of the human skeleton and skeletal trauma.

I was wondering what I was going to do with thirteen people and asked Julia for her thoughts. I forgot about my bladder. She explained that the person talking would sit with me at the table and the others would wait quietly on the bed. The thirteen people stopped talking. I caught a short wave of conversation in Ixil in which each person expressed his or her desire to speak. They thought I was saying that thirteen was too many people, meaning that everyone would not be heard. I told the group in Spanish, and Julia translated to Ixil, that I would speak with each and every person but thought it was better to do so in private.

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