Hot and Cold Politics of Indigenous Identity: Legal Indians, Cannibals, Words, More Words, More Food

This is an ethnographic analysis of Maya indigenous identity politics in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The analysis builds on first hand ethnographic fieldwork as a means to analyze newspaper reports and state laws concerning the nature, authority, activities, and cultural standing of Maya dignitaries- officials created by Mexican Law as a means to revitalize and support indigenous Maya culture. These figures are not as it were "autochthonous," but an elusive illusion created by the State in a strategy of Allusion. The anthropological discourses of identity and the interpretations of time within Mayan studies are assessed for their portraiture of Indians and of Maya Indian. These portraits are manifest manners of how Indians behave, how they should behave, as well as what and how they think. They are allusions that the State uses in strategies and practices of governing the Maya. Allusion is developed as a means to understand the hot and cold interplay or complicity between the State and Indigenous communities in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The article is a form of cultural commentary and critique in the genre of ethnography. [Keywords: cannibalism, indigenous legalities, temporality, identity politics, state politics, Maya, México, Manifest Manners].






Publication: Anthropological Quarterly
Author: Cocom, Juan Castillo
Date published: January 1, 2012

Indios lacks political power in Mexico. cliché!

Indios lacks political power in Mexico. touché!

Everybody knows that. It has been said before.

What a hoodwink paper! ¡Más de lo mismo!

A mishmash of tired clichés.

(A popular proverb among students at the Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana roo)

In the 1930s, russian film director sergei Eisenstein began to shoot a film on Mexico, but did not finish it. After Eisenstein's death, Grigory Aleksandrov, one of the film technicians, assembled a new version of the film from sketches and notes of the late director (castañeda 2000). the following text written by Eisenstein is from the original production notes that explained the concept of the prologue:

Time in the prologue is eternity. It might be today. It might as well be twenty years ago. Might be a thousand. For the dwellers of Yucatan, land of ruins and huge pyramids, have still conserved, in feature and forms, the character of their ancestors, the great race of the ancient Mayas. stone-Gods-Men-Act in the prologue. In time remote...In the land of Yucatan, among heathen temples, holy cities and majestic pyramids. In the realms of death, where the past still prevails over the present, there the starting point of our film is laid. As a symbol of recalling the past, as a farewell rite to the ancient Maya civilization, a weird funeral ceremony is held. In this ceremony, idols of the heathen temples, masks of the gods, phantoms of the past, take part... the people bear resemblance to the stone images, for those images represent the faces of their ancestors..." (Prologue, from Que Viva Mexico! as cited in castañeda 2000:60)

In the Occident, notions of time and space are often arbitrarily segmented into the before, the during, and the after. I don't know why.1 Perhaps, it is an attempt to think about concepts of being or decode the temporalities of being human; or possibly to respond to questions of who am I/who are we. Deleuze (1991:x) would say that I am/we are habits. In my opinion, this is a partial and incomplete answer: it is detached from its spatial and temporal context or it is tied too closely to such contexts. Whichever.

"Understanding" how indígenas latinoamericanos conceptualize time/ space is a habit among anthropologists, archeologists, linguists, sociologists, ethnologists, historians, historical archaeologists, and ethnographers (la lista es extensa). It is a fixation. It has been written, for example, that the Maya imagined time as a permanent and repetitive calendar of cycles (león-Portilla 1994, tedlock 1992). Inspired by levi-strauss (and before sahlins' swam to his Island of history), they proposed Maya time as cyclically repeating historical prophecies and returning prophetic histories (bricker 1973, 1981; hunt 1977). reconciling prophecies and cycles, they interpreted Maya time as a spiral and debated whether it was a helix or conic spiral, with neither a beginning nor an end. When the Mayanists realized that what they thought was the Mayan calendar actually had many diverse cycles-including cycles that correlated cycles of cycles associated with cycles that were metaphors of other cycles-the idea was revised to be cycles of cycles of calendars with cycles that remain inscrutable, such as the 819 day cycle. then they discovered it was "also but not quite" linear. the Mayanists described Maya time as discrete layers of sedimented temporalities that originated in cosmogenesis and were separated by catastrophic destructions...that repeat! Debating whether there were three or four creations, archaeological Mayanists proposed their own three-era cosmologies and grand epic narratives of civilizational-genesis and Armageddon: Pre-classic, classic, and Post classic Maya; ancient, traditional folk, and postmodern traditional (almost but not quite modern [Wilk 2005]). According to Mayanist thought, time was not quite line-like accumulations of stones, reeds, rattles, or other symbol-things (even gods themselves are said to be!) that are piled up, bundled, counted, carried, or sat on by gods, kings, and priests. While these Mayanists continued to debate their metaphors, they nonetheless all agreed that the Maya are obsessed with worshipping time.

Wait, who is? "the many faces of time, a primordial reality and obsession for the Maya, was an object of veneration for them...the Maya man sees his existence marked by time. time is the presence and cyclical action of all the faces of divinity" (león-Portilla 1994:51). It has been said that los indios are obsessed with time/space: colors, corners, calendars. We are? the only cycle we recognize is the everlasting imposition of Western notions on us. It is an epistemological act of violence.

The idea of time as an epitome of before, during, and after does not exist in the thought of the Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula, nor in their language. Maybe this is also the case with other people and languages that anthropologists have named Maya and Mayans (see castañeda 2004, restall 2004, castillo cocom 2004 for the meaning of these terms).2 I don't know. Yet, I do know that bricker is correct when she explained: "Maya does not have tense as such. Instead, it has a system of aspectual inflection which indicates whether an action has been completed or not, whether it is just beginning or ending or has been in progress for a while" (as cited in Po'ot Yah 1981:4). castañeda tells me3 that he often reads linguistic explanations in grammar books which describe Maya as without tense. Despite all of this, such books use "tenses" to describe and analyze the Maya conjugation of verbs according to "tenses." castañeda calls these linguistic constructions of Maya grammar "nontense tenses." It seems that explaining Maya language or understanding "the Maya" and "Maya time" is much like watching reality tV or a hollywood film: it requires a suspension of disbelief, not of the fiction as fiction, rather a permanent suspension of belief in the real. In other words, an active disbelief in what is the real, reality, or actual, in order to construct "the really real" in a way that is more really real. It is an acceptance of the fiction as real, as if it were real: "the fiction as experience" (castillo cocom and castañeda 2002). realism is substituted for real actualities, leaving you with Mayanist realism. the real is erased, elided for the science fictions of anthropology and linguistics: no future, no present, no past tenses, yet the Maya have nontenses of Future, Present, Past. Maya time is neither cyclical, spiral, Epic, Narrative, nor the Eternal time imagined and worshipped by Mayanists.

Hence, departing from a non-laicized belief, time/space is not conceived by the Maya people as epic narratives; at least not in any of the Western metaphors of an epic of time-things or sets of events that initiate, finalize, accumulate, repeat ad infinitum. It is not conceived as "something" that turns over and over as it moves away from a set point, rolling farther and farther away from a center or "zero date" with each turn. It is neither a cycle, nor a flat line extending forward endlessly, deep into the intergalactic space of Mayanist fascination.

Time. It's neither a cycle, nor a spiral. Neither a line with no end, nor a line with an endpoint. Maya time is neither eternity nor an eschatology, christian or other. Maya time is both "almost but not quite" time and "Neither/Nor"-neither the geometric space of timelessness, nor the imagined prophecies of christian futurologies.

The Pyramids of Time Stand Still: Ruins of Modernity

Anthropologists have also long fetishized identity and, along with it, space. the Ancient Anthropologists from the classic Period, which in the native language is called Modernist Anthropology, worshipped identity. they culturally constructed identity as spatial, as the proper space in which a being existed and gained its essence. they used an Ethnomethodology called "Ethnography" that was only learned in secret sodalities of initiation. because these practices were so esoteric, they allowed the uninitiated to confuse their ritual practices with other lay activities, such as entomology, sociology, or the study of ancient rocks. to worship Identity, they created majestic theoretical pyramids all across the world based on an advanced system of architectural rhetoric and mathematics (see Figure 1)-it was so advanced, many thought that it came from the gods, perhaps the Pleiades, or a bottle dropped from the sky!

These majestic pyramids, called "Ethnographies," were constructed through their religiously ritual practice of Allochronism (Fabian 1983). At the end of the classic Period, a series of prophets emerged-renegades and cannibals-who proselytized a new religion with a new belief that showed how the pyramids were actually like "jails" or internment camps. the prophets showed how Identity had been kept locked up and contained in an exceptional state not of incarceration (Kearney 1996). After the long culture Wars, which included feverish wars with culture studies and a scientific crusade against the axis of evil theory (Postmodernism, Poststructuralism, Postcolonialism), they tore down the pyramids, burned the books, and let culture and Identity roam free. Everybody had culture and so they lost their monopoly. so, then came the new Gods of Flows, scapes, Fluidity, and Flexibility who all danced to the song of the Global- Glocal and a new era of cultural decadence, the Post-Post Period, began. still, even tens of decades later, there are some traditional Anthropologists who hold on to their Ancient ways and continue to practice their ethnomethodologies (clifford and Marcus 1986, tedlock 1983, Mangnaro 1990). Even more fanatically, they still believe in and practice their customs of Modernist Allochronism. but, now they engage their other, actively as activists, and use the remnants of their arcane mathematics, the sacrosanct "Identity = culture = Place = time" calculus in their divinatory advocacy and ethical commitment to Indianness and Indigeneity. still, they believe in Indians. their discovery of Indigeneity, Inc. within the ruins of their once majestic pyramids causes widespread joy in their ancient calculations.

Iknal

In his studies of deixis or spatial referencing, hanks (1990) indicates that Maya people of Yucatán have a common sense understanding of corporal space. this is known as their iknal (place). this concept is a philosophical principle regarding the constant presence of absence. Iknal has been defined as: "in front of, with, before, presence" (bricker et al. 1998, emphasis added). the Diccionario Maya Cordemex defines iknal as: "con, en compañía, en poder, en casa, o donde alguno está [with, in the company of, in control of, in house, or where someone is]" (barrera Vásquez 1980:265, emphasis added). this presence/absence is atemporal (no hace referencia al tiempo; does not refer to time) and a-spatial (no hace referencia al espacio; does not refer to space). It also connotes locality such as the habitual place for social agency (i.e., nah -house, or kòol -corn field). As rodríguez (2007:7) notes, "Iknal has another meaning that is not necessarily that of a fixed localization." It is both a shared and an individuated mobile field of sensory awareness and action (hanks 2000). hence the concept of iknal is an understanding of one's bodily space and one's perception, opinion, and attitude.

Iknal seems to share many characteristics of bourdieu's (1990) habitus, yet it conceptualizes other frames of reference or, at the least, is indicative of fields that are not possible in the concept of habitus. timoteo rodríguez tells me that4 if iknal is the social agent of perspective, presence, and action, this then should allow us to understand and situate the idea of habitus in a geopolitical context as a "place" for identity formation. Iknal and habitus require habituated-presence-positioning, location, installation, situation, look, posture; in other words, where a person "habitually" is. but iknal also means where a person can "physically" be. however, it is not an either-or. Iknal has a quality that habitus does not. It is a spatial marker that is separated from the individual and it indexes the presence of a specific person. therefore, iknal doesn't require physical or habitual presence for a person to be "there" even if they are not there (castillo cocom n.d.). this may sound like something mystical, but it is just iknal. It is not a ghost, geist, spirit, or mystical animism. It is not an anthropological pyramid. Iknal is not identity. rather it is the presence of being and the absence of being, both at the same time. Not neither/nor, but "both and its opposite."

For example, there is an English song "Wish You Were here." sometimes I wish that I was here, but other times I wish the opposite-that I wasn't here or that I was there. sometimes I wish that you were here, but you are not here simply because I wish it to be. And yet you are here by my wishing you here in this absence, the place of your presence. but whatever I wish, against my will I am sometimes both "not here" and "over there." And this is iknal. have you listened to any Pink Floyd recently?

Guardians of Time

"It might be today," in José María Morelos, Quintana roo, on August 9, 2007, that "a weird funeral ceremony is held. In this ceremony, idols of the heathen temples, masks of the gods, phantoms of the past, take part." It is a solemn occasion being held in the theater of the city of José María Morelos to inaugurate the first semester of classes at the recently created Mayan Intercultural University of Quintana roo (UIMQroo). "It might as well be 20 years ago." the auditorium is full. "It might be a thousand" years ago.

In the back rows are the students. In front of them with blank looks are the professors. On stage looking down, sit the civil and university authorities. At the front of the stage sit a row of well-dressed people in white cotton, sharply pressed trousers and long-sleeved camisoles with closed necks buttoned to the top. these are clothes made with real care, clothes remembered in the photographs of the rebellious Indian of the caste War (1847 to 1901 or 1915-no one is sure when it ended; ask any historian and you will see). they evoke an image of respect and admiration, of impact. sometimes the governor of Quintana roo, Felix Arturo González canto,5 refers to them as "his Maya escort." they are "los Dignatarios Mayas," the Maya Dignitaries. "stone-Gods-Men."

As a Maya colleague and expert in his own culture described them, these people are "the spine of the Maya culture," "the guards of Mayan cultural patrimony," "the bastions of the land of Quintana roo," and "the true guardians of the history of the state." In addition he said, "I am going to introduce them to you, but greet them with respect and reverence. Do not look them directly in the eye. lower your view; and, be sincere because they have the power to look inside you and know your feelings."

We followed his instructions. We did not look them in the eye.

National Geographic Law: Magic Cycles, Pony Tricks, Smoking Mirrors

How the Mexican state uses concepts of before, during, and after in respect to the Maya is brilliant. the traditional Judges were created in 1997 (Domingo barbará 2008:51-52) when the congress of the state of Quintana roo created the Ley de Justicia Indígena del Estado de Quintana Roo,6 and in 1998 Ley de Derechos, Cultura y Organización Indígena del Estado de Quintana Roo.7 the latter referred to the need to recreate the millenarian Maya in a contemporary Maya culture. this was seen as a necessary step in constructing and designing an authentic Mayan culture for the future. I don't know the purpose of this law, but it sells well with the tourist and 2012 is getting ever closer. the former law seems to be aimed at recreating ancient laws of the Maya in the hopes of resurrecting past legal structures to deal with contemporary Maya "situations."

How exactly would the Quintana roo congress know what these legal structures of the Maya past were? how do you think the Ancient Maya dealt with their "problems"? Who would know? Maybe they read National Geographic Magazine or one of those airline magazines while flying to cancun. A Google search on Maya law resulted in only one website, a canadian educational site, that unlike the Quintana roo congress, provided references for their knowledge of Maya law. this is what we found:

In the Mayan culture the Mayan city-states had strict legal codes to deal with criminals. the Mayans believed that criminals did not act on their own but were being controlled by evil spirits. Although they believed this, criminals were still being punished. criminals were given visible slashes to be seen as a sign of disgrace. the most serious offense was murder and the punishment was death. there were councils of judges in the city-states to deal with criminal cases. From time to time they would send runners to obtain sacred decisions from local Gods at local temples. this came in the form of an oracle written on an obsidian block. sentences were carried out immediately. Guilty verdicts meant torture or death on the central podium of the court. (Angelfire n.d.)

Mayan law. Mayan law was very, very strict. It did not matter who you were but if you committed a crime you would be punished. this was enforced rigidly. some of the punishments were things like a hefty fine, or having all of your possessions sold on auction, or being sold into slavery or possibly getting thrown into a jail for varying lengths of time. Mayan law was pretty fair. the Mayan's held good lawful trials. they collected evidence and presented it before a Judge. (thinkquest n.d.)

Maya law was very strict. Punishments varied, but the laws were pretty fair. If you stole something and you were caught, you became the captive of your victim. If you committed a lesser crime, your hair would be cut short. short hair was a sign of disgrace. It was possible that, as a punishment, all your possessions might be sold at auction. the Mayas held trials. Evidence was presented against you or for you. this evidence was presented before a judge. It did not matter who you were. If you committed a crime, and you were found guilty after a judge had heard your case, you would be punished. this was rigidly enforced. (MrDonn n.d.)

In the beginning, Mayan government was ruled by religion, like most civilizations of the past. the leaders of the government were priests. Around 300 bc the Mayans adopted a hierarchical absolute monarchy system of government...With close relations with religion, the king consulted the monarch on all important matters [sic] ...crimes were punished by death. the most common way was to be thrown off a cliff. (Perkins n.d.)

Cycles, endlessly repeating cycles of cycles. Only one of the above online sources had references. It cited the other websites and an article by the National Geographic society, featuring cartoon depictions of Maya cities in an "as if we were there/then" style reconstruction: "this is what Mirador really looked like when it was a thriving metropolis!"8 (National Geographic News 2010). We wonder if the Quintana roo congress did get their ideas from National Geographic Magazine after all?

If not, maybe they got their information from an archaeological educational film produced by Princeton, Pbs, or the history channel. Although it could have come from an academic archaeological publication, such as Michael coe's The Maya (1993) (now thankfully in its Eighth Edition) or The Ancient Maya by Morley, sharer, and brainerd (1983). but, even these sources don't discuss Maya law. Maybe the congressmen used a book about the Aztecs and toltecs instead? since all Indians are the same after all, their cultures are also interchangeable. It's all the same place, you know, México. sahagún's extensive description of Aztec culture in his monumental 16th century Florentine codex has been a great wealth of knowledge about the Maya for many educational filmmakers and writers when there is absolutely no parallel or direct information about pre-columbian Maya societies and culture. 9 It works! smoking Mirror!

Tezcatlipoca, a god of the Mexica-the Indians who the spaniards and we today even in Mexico call Aztecs-was a trickster. tezcatlipoca carried about on his forehead a smoking mirror, which he used for divination and ruses of representation.

The Sistema de Justicia Indígena (system of Indigenous Justice) that the state congress of Quintana roo legally constituted for Maya people consists of the following: Tribunal Unitario de Asuntos Indígenas (Unitary court of Indigenous Issues); the Magistratura de Asuntos Indígenas (Judiciary of Indigenous Issues); and the Consejo de la Judicatura de Justicia Indígena (Judicature of Indigenous Justice). the Consejo de la Judicatura de Justicia Indígena has six members (five advisors and the Magistrate of Indigenous Issues).10 the advisors are: General santiago cruz Peraza (Centro Ceremonial of chancá-Veracruz), sacerdote Maya Julián Ken Dzul (Centro Ceremonial of chumpón), General Maya sixto balam chuc (Centro Ceremonial of cruz Parlante), sacerdote Maya Moisés chi hoil (Centro Ceremonial of tulum), sacerdote Maya Isidro Ek cab (Centro Ceremonial of tixcacal-Guardia), and Magistrate of indigenous Issues, Francisco Javier reyes hernández (buenrostro Alba 2008).

"Stone-Gods-Men... the Dignatarios bear resemblance to the stone images, for those images represent the faces of their ancestors..." It appears the pony can do many magic tricks, but really it is a one-trick pony, trotting out the same trick again and again. It's a magic spiral, a pony trick, a smoking mirror, a line without end unfolding forward, an eternal cycle of cycles. Yet, it is confusing to me why the Dignatarios do not dress like the everyday Maya depicted in the National Geographic Magazine cartoons. Is this not a portrait of the Maya?11

Hands Off that Cake! The Consejo de la Judicatura de Justicia Indígena and the Jueces Tradicionales

The term "Maya Dignitaries" is defined in the law as "the indigenous who must hold public office and public representation in a ceremonial center according to sus usos, costumbres y tradiciones [customs and traditions]" (Domingo barbará 2008:71, Periódico Oficial del Gobierno del Estado 1998:2). this includes Generales (Generals), sacerdotes (Priests), comandantes (commanders), capitanes (captains), tenientes (lieutenants), sargentos (sergeants), cabos (corporals), and rezadores (those responsible for prayer in religious ceremonies), their function being to guard and conserve the Maya customs, traditions, languages, and their traditional centers (Domingo barbará 2008:78-81, Periódico Oficial del Gobierno del Estado 1998).

This is the law that state congress of Quintana roo created:

Article 9-"the Tribunal Superior de Justicia del Estado...will appoint the traditional Judges..." (Periódico Oficial del Gobierno del Estado 2007:2)

Article 6-"the Sistema de Justicia Indígena is an alternative justice to the ordinary jurisdictional route and to the jurisdiction privilege of judges (jueces del orden común). Its jurisdiction will always depend on the terms and conditions established in the Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, and the Constitución Política del Estado..." (Periódico Oficial del Gobierno del Estado 2007:2)

Both of these laws illustrate that for the Mexican state the Maya culture is simply a reference or echo whose presence helps legitimize the existence of power for the state. the chart below describes the power and authority of the traditional Maya judges as stipulated by the state of Quintana roo (Periódico Oficial del Gobierno del Estado 2007) (see Figure 2).

The state imagines that Maya culture is like a series of dialogues, negotiations, conversations, interactions, and intersections, as "implode-able" as any other culture/s. castañeda (2000:44) writes that it is difficult to imagine Maya culture this way. On the one hand, it is seen as "located" at an intersection horribly tangled in conversations with other cultures; on the other, it is "situated" at the crossroads of many cultural transactions. to imagine Maya culture in this way means that it may implode, but only into thousands of semantic fragments-texts, images, fields, languages, economies, and institutions. In this context, the state's idea of Maya culture becomes "elusive and illusive" (castañeda 2000:44). however, I have to add the quality of AllUsIVE to castañeda's analysis because this essentialization of the Maya is very much a part of the state's agenda. by making this culture "real," it becomes only a point of political reference, something to be alluded to, like a signified to be pointed at-something to be marked, when necessary. like an academic citation of a "source," it is only decoration, a sign of the verisimilitude of knowing and knowledge, a map of political power, networks, gambits for status and cultural capital; but this reference is both academic allusion and political bludgeon.

The implosion of the past in the present-a "past" created in the "present"- demonstrates the state's complicity with the social sciences, mass media, and the tourist industry as exemplified in the institutionalization of Maya Dignitaries as established in ley de Derechos, cultura y Organización Indígena de 1998. Is this not the crime that the Maya Dignitaries should be dealing with? but how can they do so without erasing themselves? Do they know that the state's portraiture of them as Maya, like Warhol's painting of russell Means, "is not an Indian"? can they recognize that their performance of Indian is a colonial simulation?12 stone-Gods-Men: "the people seem turned to stone over the grave of the deceased in the same poses, the same expressions of face, as those portrayed in the ancient stone carvings" (Eisenstein as cited in castañeda 2000:60).

The Mexican state's clever use of time/space lies in the identification of the before, during, and after as simple, superficial, temporary divisions, as relative temporalities. In this way, the state constructs temporal ownership in the present through the citation of another temporality. It did not pretend, does not pretend, nor will it pretend to politically empower the Maya Dignatarios. the intention is only to empower them emblematically for the purpose of using power imposed upon them wherever and whenever they so wish in order to justify and legitimize the power of the state itself.

By inventing the name "Maya Dignitaries," the Mexican state is ratifying the historical ambivalence of the word Indio. As Vizenor wrote, "Indian insinuates the obvious simulation and ruse of colonialism...Indian is an Occidental misnomer, an overseas enactment that has no referent to real native cultures or communities" (1999:i). "Maya Dignitary," like "Indian," is also a decree of a colonial state, one that tries to recreate a structure of being "almost equal, but not absolutely" (bhabha 1994:87). this construct is based on studies of the socio-political organization of the Maya, as well as official and academic stories created by archaeologists, historians, anthropologists, and linguists, all in some way complicit with mass media and the tourist industry whether they like it or not. It is the ambivalent mímica or mimicry of the state, of the before and after, again and again.

How tedious this time/space cycle is. Again, that endless spiral. Is there nothing else? Are there no other geometries, futurologies, or teleologies of time? "In this ceremony, idols of the heathen temples, masks of the gods, phantoms of the past, take part. In the corresponding grouping of the stone images, the masks, the bas-relief, and the living people, the immobile act of the funeral is displayed." "the people bear resemblance to the stone images, for those images represent the faces of their ancestors. the people seem turned to stone over the grave of the deceased in the same poses, the same expressions of face, as those portrayed in the ancient stone carvings."

Iknal. Presencia. Ode to Levi-Strauss: Structures of Hot and Cold (Tacos)

In Quintana roo, it is habitual for Maya Dignitaries to be present at political events of great relevance. thus, one day they may have a meeting with the President of the republic, the next they may attend an annual address held by the Governor or Municipal President. sometimes they attend the inauguration of a school or some other celebration that the authorities organize. At a 2007 christmas event, Felix González canto, governor of the state of Quintana roo, addressed his Maya audience in the following way:

(Felipe carrillo Puerto, Quintana roo, December 21, 2007)

Good morning to you my friends and my dignitary Maya friends. First of all, please eat. I don't want the tacos to get cold. cold co chinita [cochinita pibil or Maya earth-oven pit cooked pork] never tastes as good as when it is hot, so go ahead please and eat. We can talk while we eat. We will eat with you as we are also hungry. We all come from various towns...Greetings to the council members of Felipe carrillo Puerto...especially you my friends, the Dignatarios. today we have with us the distinguished Quintanarroense [or native of Quintana roo] Don carlos constance Madrazo. Welcome to carrillo Puerto [you all] that comes with these Mayan Dignitaries who give meaning to this prodigal land...

Greetings also to cautlán Utzil, Maya priest of Xyatil; santiago de la cruz, Maya General de chancá-Veracruz; to Don santos Natividad can, escribano (chronicler) of the ceremonial centers, to Jacinto Pech, Maya General of tixcacal-Guardia; to José chi, General of cruz Parlante; to Julian cen, Maya priest of chumpón...

Dear dignitaries. bon appetite! Merry christmas and happy 2008. President bahena and myself will be visiting your communities as soon as this vacation is over. but for now you must rest because you are on vacation. We however are not going to rest. We are going to keep working, but you, you can rest. And as soon as you get back from vacation remember that we will be visiting you in your communities... so I ask you that after today you go back to your communities, to your ceremonial centers. (Unidad del Vocero del Gobierno del Estado de Quintana roo 2007)

What are the Maya Dignatarios to think as they sit there trying to eat their hot pibil? should they eat or listen? Are they to stay or were they supposed to go? And when are they meant to leave? I wonder which ceremonial center will be visited first? these are methodological questions that any handbook of ethnography on the Maya would answer with ease. I would suggest it is something more unsettling: the Maya Dignatarios are the essential eating-listening audience legitimizing the state, simultaneously consuming its food and words. Unfortunately, the Maya are not cannibals (only in hollywood end-of-the-world Apocalyptic films do they appear as such). they are not consuming the state to appropriate and transform it; rather they are fed by the state, fattened and raised like cochinita waiting for their pib, waiting to be cooked in the state's earth-oven pit. their contribution is to sit, eat, and listen to the sound of being honored as the honorable, "true guardians of the history of Quintana roo" (Gobierno del Estado de Quintana roo 2005). but everything has a price.

A year passes. More words, more food.

(Felipe carrillo Puerto, Quintana roo, December 17, 2008)

The families of the Dignatarios and Maya generals had breakfast with the municipal and state authorities after a touching ceremony in which the government of the state recognized the cultural and economic contributions of the Maya zone to the development and progress of Quintana roo...

Rosario Ortiz Yeladaqui, secretary of Government and personal representative of governor Félix González canto presented turkeys and christmas baskets (consisting of one kilo of beans, one kilo of flour, one kilo of sugar, a couple of candies and some fruit) to the Maya dignitaries and generals.

"I am bringing with me a message from the Governor of the state who wishes you peace and health in 2009...I bring with me the greetings, recognition and affection of Felix to you. You are the motor that has inspired him to work hard on the development of Quintana roo. since the beginning of his administration you have always given him a warm reception..."

General Jacinto Pech replied, "thank you on behalf of the Maya Dignatarios who along with the principle Maya authorities of Quintana roo. We recognize during this breakfast that the actions of Felix González canto are to the benefit of the Maya zone."

Valfred cetz cen, mayor of Felipe carrillo Puerto, reinforced the sentiment of the bond that exists between indigenous communities and their government. he addressed the Dignatarios, "we feel no fear standing face-to-face with you. there is no fear for us looking you in the eye. We have always respected your rights, your traditions and customs. No single decision has been taken on behalf of your communities or inhabitants without your prior agreement."

"You can always count on us," rosario Ortiz Yeladaqui continued. "We feel very proud to be your partners and friends. We will keep working for you, one and all." (Unidad del Vocero del Gobierno del Estado de Quintana roo 2008)

The power that the state endows the Maya Dignitaries is limited to the role of spokesperson both for and of the state. In short, "for the state" would mean that the Mayas are promoters of the state, while "of the state" means they are already integral to the state. Maybe this is why the Governor-as reported by the media-asked the Dignatarios Mayas to vacation in their own culture. Meanwhile, the Governor's people (aides, journalists, anthropologists, etc.) are hard at work inventing the very same culture that they will go sightsee.13 Why would they do this? It makes no sense. Or does it? What is the logic and structure of the hot and cold cochinita of Maya politics?

In the state of Yucatan, as I have previously argued (castillo cocom 2005, 2007), the state created the fiction of a Maya nobility that it could use to legitimize the rule of the governor.14 this act was documented in 1975 at an event in which the governor of Yucatán told Queen Elizabeth II that she was in the presence of a Maya King. In Quintana roo, which had only been a legal territory of México (i.e., not a state) until 1974, the state did not leave the implementation of this governance strategy to the creative whimsy of an individual governor. Instead, the existence of a Maya nobility was created and is regulated by law. the Maya aristocracy is a legal Indian manufactured by the state to guard and protect the indigenous culture.

In this cyclical process, the power of the "guardians of the Maya culture" is used in return to cede power to the state. It is the simulation and ruse of colonialism: "A symbol of recalling the past, as a farewell rite to the ancient Maya civilization" (Eisenstein as cited in castañeda 2000:60). Yet, the only way that a Maya Dignitary can "bestow" power back to the state is to behave as a "noble savage" (Indian nobleman) and not as a good Indian (otherwise known as "the seditious one"). by noble savage, I mean noble savage; whereas, by good Indian, I mean one who is always inciting insurrection: the cannibal who eats the hearts of colonialists, tourists, and anthropologists. today, that would be...well, no one.

"The Good" Indian: Dead or Delinquent?

The Dignatarios Mayas are not a harmonious, united group. they are divided into many factions, some of which are created and nourished by the Mexican state. there are fights between politicians and political groups as they maneuver to gain or retain control over the "Maya representatives." this "internal" conflict and competition amongst Dignatarios is how the system is justified and legitimized. As a consequence, there are conflicts amid the different Centros Ceremoniales and between the Dignatarios Mayas. For example, some Maya Dignatarios do not recognize certain other Dignatarios, while others are simply not recognized officially by the state; others just bicker and fight. Why? the Maya are mysterious-I don't know why. Maybe they bicker because they are jealous of another Dignatario, maybe one feels less or more important than the other, maybe one is screwing another one's wife, or they just don't like jokes. I don't know why. As I said, the Maya are very mysterious:

(Felipe carrillo Puerto, Quintana roo, september 15, 2009)

"Álvaro Martín Kauil, representative of the Dirección de Atención ciudadana (DAc) dismissed Facundo Puc Méndez, the captain of the sanctuary of la cruz Parlante (the talking cross), simply for being the friend of Artemio caamal hernandez, the president of the indigenous association Cuxa Ano'on [sic].15

[Facundo Puc Méndez] said, "My wife, Gregoria Poot tuz, has been very sad the last few days and could get ill because Álvaro Martín Kauil with a single blow took away from me traditions and customs that I have been caring for many generations."

He continued, "Not only did he demote me as captain of the Group of Guards of la cruz Parlante, but he made me relinquish my responsibilities arguing that I was performing functions that are not under my jurisdiction; in fact this position was granted to me in rituals performed many years ago."

"General Isabel sulub and Álvaro Martín Kauil plotted to dismiss me because of my friendship with Artemio caamal and because I made a comment about a garbage bag that was where the image of la cruz Parlante use to be; it was a joke but maybe they took offense to this."

"Álvaro Martín Kauil said that he represents Felix González canto, governor of the state in the central Maya zone. but it is he who is acting against the 'usos y costumbres' (ways and customs) of the Maya people. Indigenous people have laws and documents in writing where it states that we respect the government. but apparently Álvaro does not know this."

"Álvaro Martín's detestation towards his own Maya race is evident because he managed to poison the mind of the Maya general Isabel sulub of Dzulá who later accused me of appropriating others responsibilities."

He concluded, "having worked for almost 10 years as captain of la cruz Parlante, I really don't know why he created these problems for me. I have done nothing wrong."

"If they say that I made a profit using the name of the Dignitaries then they need to prove it. And if it is true then I will recognize this because I believe that any well-born Maya is incapable of stealing from his own brother."

The humble Maya dignitary Facundo Puc of the community of Uh May lost his rights and was dismissed and listed as one of the indigenous people who would no longer receive his christmas basket of goods. this gift is given to Maya Dignatarios each year to demonstrate state government support for the Mayan ceremonial centers of Quintana roo." (cen 2009)

Noble Savage (Noble Indio): Fish or Mammal?

In 2009, there were supposed to be 325 Dignatarios Mayas in Quintana roo, but only 18 of them were officially recognized by the state. this means that not all Dignatarios get to see the whale sharks.

(Lázaro cárdenas, Quintana roo, July 17, 2009)

The Maya Dignitaries of Kantunilkin will go and see one of the great mammals of the world, the whale shark. thirty Maya Dignatarios have been invited to the coastal town of holbox by its mayor, Javier Martínez correa...they were very, very happy for this opportunity because normally they would be unable to afford such a trip. Only the initiative of the mayor allowed the Dignatarios the chance to see these mammals [sic; I'd like to insert a caveat here: The whale shark is a fish, not a mammal]. the Mayor of holbox recently had a meeting with the Mayan Dignitaries to inform them about this opportunity and to describe the natural beauty of holbox including its whale sharks.

One of the Mayan Dignitaries Pablo Pech mentioned that he was thrilled about this trip. he said "I have only seen them [the whale sharks] in newspapers. I thought that I was going to die before I would ever get to see those huge, huge animals." (Uicab 2009)

We believe that all the Maya Dignatarios should be able to see the whale shark mammals. Yes, let them all see the whale sharks. It is their dignified duty as Noble savages.

"Only the Quaint Rhythm of the Drums of the Yucatan Music, and the High-Pitched Maya Song"

As a discourse of ambiguous insinuation, the state (and for that matter, the press in its misinformation and simplistic tone) use time and space, the before, during, and after, to categorize Maya people as a legitimate AllUsION that helps justify the power of state. Maya culture is, after all, "imploding" with other cultures. the institutionalization of the Maya Dignatarios in 1998-over a decade ago now-was designed "to protect" Maya ways, customs, traditions, languages, and their traditional centers from disaster. this discourse and institution cite temporalities that are "other to" and therefore exclude the iknal, excluding all that is atemporal and aespacial. One might say that what indexes the presence in an absence has now been extended to include limits imposed upon the Maya by the Occidental assumptions of time and space. For some reason, Maya conspicuousness always appears to be "a problem," a problem that a long list of academics and governments for some reason feel responsible for.

Eisenstein wrote, "the people bear resemblance to the stone images, for those images represent the faces of their ancestors" (as cited in castañeda 2000:60). his words only acquire meaning if we were listening to them with some music, especially if it was some opera staged by sarah brightman singing, as she must have during her concert in chichén Itzá on October 31, 2009, performed for the people of the Yucatán (who needed at least $600 UsD for one ticket). If, to quote Eisenstein, "time in the prologue is eternity," brightman singing in chichén should remind us of the Maya-perhaps, more so if she had dressed like the Maya from the National Geographic cartoons. Instead, it only reminds us of the AllUsION, as necessary when useful. this is no doubt why the upper class white women of Yucatán who claim racial descent from spaniards, Gringos, and other Europeans, wear their most expensive and formal outfit based in the richly embroidered traditional Maya dress or huipil and instead of their normal Western attire. (Even the lebanese Yucatecos wear huipiles during Mérida en Domingo.)16 "the grouping of the stone images, the masks, the bas-relief, and the living people, [create] the immobile act of the funeral" (Eisenstein as cited in castañeda 2000:60). I don't know, I am getting old now and my hearing is not as good as it used to be, but when brightman, Pavarotti, and Elton John sing in chichén I don't hear "the quaint rhythm of the drums of the Yucatan music, and the high-pitched Maya song" (Eisenstein as cited in castañeda 2000:60). I'm sorry, I just don't hear it.

The example of the whale shark is also useful, but ironic-the whale shark is, in fact, not a mammal as the newspaper states. this is also an AllUsION, of a fish that is not a whale. this fish is also elusive and illusive. however, this story about the Maya Dignatarios is not a story about a fishing trip, it is a "portrait of an Indian" (to invoke Vizenor's manifest manners).

So, if anyone asks you if you'd like to see something huge that looks like a whale...just say no. say no to the whale shark. And whilst on the subject you might as well say no to Eisenstein, weird funerals, stone processions, sarah brightman, and the christmas turkey. sorry, but no to Elton John as well. the aluxes, or spirit-owners/guardians of pyramids, forests, cenotes, and caves denied Elton John as well-they caused the collapse of the stage the night before his April 2010 performance in chichén Itzá (Gordon 2010).

No more National Geographic cartoons of Maya "as they really were," nor majestic pyramids of ethnography with their hypostatized identity of traditional culture almost, but not quite modern. Another magic mirror of before, during, and after.

I also forgot to mention that in the process of writing this paper I became friends with one of the Maya Dignatarios. Neither he nor I could afford to go to the two concerts so we drank atole de maíz in his house instead, listening to Maya rap music mixed with English and spanish-neither/nor, both at once/or rather, aporias, elsewhere. We just talked, chen k tsíikbal, talked about "touch" cell phones, Facebook, and when to burn milpa. I remember him in his house. somehow I am in his house. It is another, different "Other time" than anthropological allochronism. Physically, he is not here, but still he is "here," helping me with this writing. It is his iknal.

No "More Words." No "more food."

There was nothing else to say and we listened to the song, Tin wiknal (performed by the group Ya'ax kàalo'ob) written by Fredy reynaldo Un Noh and Ernesto Ajk'íin chablé berlin:17

(Neto Cruzo' ob)

Júuj!

¿Yáan a tàal?

¿Wah yáan a bin?

(Fredy)

Chen ba' ale tin wiknal

Jajaja¡

Wooj!

(Neto)

¿Tu' ux yàan le xki' ichpan ch'úupalale' ex?

Taak in wilike' ex

Bix a péeksik a wíinklil a xíimbal, a

che' eje' ex

Bix yàanikech

Chen in wilkech ka màan te' bejo'

Taak in naakanpachkech

Chéen ba' ale' chich a bin, ma' a pá' atken ka

na' ats' ken ta wiknal

(Fredy)

Tu' ux sùuk k maano' on yeetel

Neto cruzo' ob

Yeetel k t'íinche' balak' ook,Yeetel u yòok

kisin ki k maanch' aktiko' on le kis

búuts' o' obo' ,

Chen in pool kin be' ebe' echik, tu k'áay le íik'

tin xikino'

Ko' ox, na' aken tin t'íinche' balak' ook'

Tal vez bix ko' on jaaltik, ka wil bix ko' on líik' il

Ko' ox, na' aken tin paach, ka a wil bix in

máan

Tene' susutuk tin che' ej

Je in beetik a che' ej yéetel u ki' imaktal a

wóole

Seeb in taal ta wiknal,

¿Ba' ax ka wa' ak?

Tin taanaje' yáan junp' eel k'áay' ,

Páax u ti' al k óok' oto' on

Teech a woojel

Yáan u péek in wook bix u péeks a winkilo'

Bey u péek a wíinklilo'

Yáan in táah ch' a u yóol ' e paaxalch' a' u

yóol le k' aaya'

Cha' a bisa' al, cha' in beetkinba

Tin wiknal yaanech mix ba' al yàan u

yùuchul tech

(Neto)

¡Ya' axkalo' ob!

(Fredy)

Yáan a suut?

¿Wa ma' a suut?

(Neto)

¿Tu' ux yáan le xki' ichpan xch'úupalale' ex?

Taak in wilike' ex

Bix a péeksik a wíinklil, a xíimbal a

che' eje' ex

Bix yaanikech

Chen in wilkech ka maan te bejo'

Taak in naakanpachkech

Chéen ba' ale' chich a bin ma' a t pá' atken a

na' atken ka wiknal

(Neto)

Chen taan a wéenel tin tséem

Ka beetik in tuuklik

¿Bix yáan in beetik u ti' al jach ki' imakkunsik

a wóole' ?

Tumen teeche' a woojel tene' seen in

xíimbal

Chen ba'ale tu láakal le kíino' yáan in suut

ta wiknal

Bey tuune' yáan in suut ta nahil,

ta nahil

Yáan in suut

Sáansamal, sáansamal

Beyo'

Beyo'

(Neto)

¿Tu'ux yàan le xki'ichpan xch'úupalale'ex?

Taak in wilike'ex

Bix a péeksik a wíinklil, a xíimbal a

che'eje'ex

Bix yaanikech

Chen in wilkech ka maan te bejo'

Taak in naakanpachkech

Chéen ba'ale' chich a bin ma' a pá'atken a

naakten ta wiknal

(Neto)

Chen ba'ale'

Ku ts'o'okole yáan a lúubul

Yáan a luubul wa yáan a na'akalChen ba'ale

tin wiknal

(Fredy)

Beyo'. Ko'ox

Beyo'

Ma ch'aik saajkil, tene' ta weetele

wíinkilen

Ma' u beetal in meetik mix ba'al

Teech ken a waanten yéetel a paktikeno'

Ko'ox ma' t'aan

Ko'ox cha' in k'áay

Ko'ox tin tanaj

¿Ba'ax u láak' ka tuklik?

¿Ba'ax ka wa'ak?

¿Ko'ox tin tanaj?

Yáan in beet a naay

¿Yáan a xíimbatken wa ma'?

¿Yáan a ts'akteni wa ma'?

In wóojel in ti'al

Mix ba'al u láak' ka a'alchajak

(Neto)

¿Tu'ux yàan le xki'ichpan xch'úupalale'ex?

Taak in wilike'ex

Bix a péeksik a wíinklil, a xíimbal a

che'eje'ex

Bix yaanikech

(Neto Cruzo'ob)

Huuh! (shout)

Will you come?

Or will you go?

(Fredy)

But, to my place

Hahaha

Wo-oh-oh!

(Neto)

Where are all you pretty girls?

I want to see you-all!

How you move your body, how you walk,

you all laughing

How are you?

When I see you pass by on the road

I want to catch up to you

But you walk too fast,

you can't wait for me to get near you

(Fredy)

We are used to going everywhere, me and

Neto Cruzo'ob

With our bicycles, with "devil's feet" we

overtake vehicles

Just my head bobs up and down and

around, the wind sings in my ears

Come on, Lets go!

¡Get up on my bicycle!

Then you will see how we go (to the edge),

then you feel how we fly

Come on! Get on my back, then you feel

how I go

I laugh and laugh

I will make you laugh, I will make you happy

I come right away to you, what do you say?

In my house there is a song

Music so that we can dance

You know

My feet will move as you move yours

The way you move your body, take the heart

of the rhythm's music;

Let your let your body go, hold me, I am

coming

You are with me.

Nothing s' gonna happen to you

(Neto)

Dudes!

(Fredy)

You will come back?

Or won't you come again?

(Neto)

Where are all you pretty girls?

I want to see you-all!

How you move your body, how you walk,

you all laughing

How are you?

When I see you pass by on the road

I want to catch up to you

But you walk too fast,

you can't wait for me to get near you

(Neto)

With you sleeping on my chest

You make think about

What I must do to make your heart very

happy

Because as for you, you know how I have

been around

But, day after day I will come back to your

presence

As for this way then I return to your house,

your house

I must return

Everyday, everyday

Like this

Like this

(Neto)

Where are all you pretty girls?

I want to see you-all!

How you move your body, how you walk,

you all laughing

How are you?

When I see you pass by on the road

I want to catch up to you

But you walk too fast,

you can't wait for me to get near you

(Neto)

But, in the end

You will fall

Will you fall or will you get on up?

The thing is, with me here my presence

(Fredy)

Yea, like this, lets go

Like this,

Don't be afraid. As for me, my body is

with you

I would never do anything to you

You will help me when you look at me

Come on! Don't talk

Come on! Take my song

Lets go to my house

What else do you think about?

What do you say?

Lets go to my house

I will make you dream

Will you visit me or not?

Will you give it to me or not?

I know it's mine

There's nothing else that can be said

(Neto)

Where are all you pretty girls?

I want to see you-all!

How you move your body, how you walk,

you all laughing

How are you?

Acknowledgements

I am indebted to Quetzil E. castañeda. Without his texts and the dialogues we started 20 years ago, this article would not have been possible. I also would like to thank robert John brocklehurst for his contribution to this paper and his insightful comments. A special thanks to christine Preble for her faith in the text. Finally, I want to recognize selmi salomé and Mark Aleksi for their incalculable contributions to my life and work.

Endnotes

1the first person singular refers to castillo cocom. the first person plural refers to ríos luviano and castillo cocom.

2For other details, see castañeda n.d.

3Personal communication, July 16, 2010.

4Personal communication, May 7, 2009.

5

6The Ley de Justicia Indigena del Estado de Quintana Roo is composed of the following chapters: I. Disposiciones generales; II. Del sistema de Justicia Indígena; III. De los órganos del sistema de Justicia Indígena; IV. De las competencias; V. Medios de apremio, funciones y medidas de seguridad; VI. De la consignación a los jueces tradicionales; VII. De los procedimientos ante los jueces tradicionales; VII. De las inconformidades (Periódico Oficial del Gobierno del Estado 2007). the ley de Justicia Indígena del Estado de Quintana roo was promulgated on 30 August 1997. Nevertheless, it was reformed on 17 December 2007 under the name of "ley de Justicia Indígena del Estado de Quintana roo: última reforma Publicada en el Periódico Oficial el 17 de Diciembre del 2007."

7A "traditional Judge" has a monthly salary of $350.00 Mexican pesos (approximately $30.1154 UsD, the exchange rate on July 7, 2011 was of $11.622 MXN to $1 UsD). In addition, he gets a "gift" every two weeks of, more or less, the following goods: one kilo of beans, one kilo of rice, one kilo of sugar, one liter of cooking oil, two cans of tuna, one bag of powder milk. this is compared to a conventional judge who receives no gift, but earns $31,961.86 Mexican pesos a month (approximately $2750.1289 UsD) (Poder Judicial Quintana roo 2009).

8See castañeda n.d., for an analysis of these National Geographic cartoon reconstructions of Maya cities and everyday life and how they continue to inform the reconstruction segments of educational-documentary film.

9The major sources would be Fray Diego de landa's Relación de las Cosas de Yucatán (circa 1566) and Diego cogolludo's Historia de Yucatán (1688). the extensive bibliography on "Primary sources of Aztec and Maya law and history" of the tarleton law library is essentially all Aztec sources except for the two just mentioned (the University of texas at Austin n.d.). ralph roys only has two pages devoted to legal process in his monumental The Indian Background of Yucatán (1973).

10The Sistema de Justicia Indígena is closely tied to Maya religion. Maya advisors hold religious positions in their communities (buenrostro Alba 2008).

11Ethnography of the Maya cruzob begins with Alfonso Villa rojas (1978) and includes a description of the sociopolitical organization of the cruzob, which may have been some basis in the designation of the specific Dignatarios. he was sent to chan santa cruz by redfield and had to disguise himself as a traveling merchant in order to be accepted into the community (see sullivan 1989). Other significant cruzob ethnographies include sullivan (1984), hostettler (1996a, 1996b, 2004), and bartolomé and barabas (1977).

12Do we need a reference here? A citation? Or, is it you-is it you who needs a reference? Very well, then, but which one should it be? Post-indian Warrior Vizenor or Post-science latour? Which one confirms your belief in our analysis? Which one confirms our status in your imagined circuits of our power/knowledge?

13This analysis may seem harsh and personal. however, in our sincere opinion, the Governor is a good person. rather the trouble is not with the person of the governor but a long standing way in which anthropological and popular understandings of "the Maya" inform and advise the state as an institution, including the office of the governor.

14See castañeda (1996:285-297) for an earlier analysis of how the state of Yucatán decorates itself with "the Maya" through the production of tourism and with Maya "grassroots" movements organized by the PrI. Jan rus (2004) has also convincingly shown how the PrI has been a staunch supporter of the "traditional closed community" organizations that had been idealized as authentic Indian survival cultures resistant to neocolonial state.

15In Maya this means "we are alive." the correct spelling is one word, "kuxa'anoon."

16Mérida en Domingo is the city Government sponsored party that happens religiously every single weekend. It includes staged performance of traditional Maya Jarana dance by trained school children and professional adult troupes.

17Maya spelling and grammar by Quetzil E. castañeda, Flor canché teh, and hilario chi canul. Maya- English translation by Quetzil E. castañeda and Juan A. castillo cocom.

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Author affiliation:

Juan Castillo Cocom with Saúl Ríos Luviano

Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo

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