Representing Mayas

Indigenous Authorities and Citizenship Demands in Guatemala

in Social Analysis

In this article, I analyze how indigenous authorities in Guatemala negotiate citizenship at the local level within the larger context of indigenous claim making in Latin America. I argue that the construction of citizenship at the local level is not only framed by models imposed on indigenous communities but also shaped by the meanings that individuals attach to their indigenous identity. I use the election of Quetzaltenango's first Maya mayor and the abolition of part of the system of community services in Santa María as points of departure for exploring the ways that indigenous actors approach legal frameworks as a way of constructing citizenship. In concluding, I discuss how new categories of inclusion can result in new categories of exclusion.