This paper offers a revisionist viewpoint on the nature of colonial Maya literacy, showing that the colonial Yucatec Maya elite utilized both the traditional hieroglyphic script and the new alphabetic writing skills taught by the Franciscan friars. By adapting and utilizing both styles of writing, the colonial Maya elite created a system of graphic pluralism that enabled the Maya nobility to better defend their elite interests in a manner consistent with both pre-Columbian and colonial forms of writing, address, religion, and government administration.

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