A photo of 22 young Mayas covered the front page of Guatemala’s daily El Gráfico on July 30, 1978, accompanied by an unexpected headline: “Reinas Indígenas [Indigenous Pageant Queens] Condemn This Year’s Folklore Festival.” As the pageant queens and supporters announced a boycott of the state-sponsored festival, they protested intensifying army violence against indigenous communities, referring explicitly to a recent army massacre of Q’eqchi’ Maya campesinos in the community of Panzós, Alta Verapaz. While the blood of “genuine Guatemalan indios,” as the protestors pointedly termed the Panzós victims, still soaked the ground, “all the . . . festivals . . . in supposed homage to the indio of Guatemala are unjustified . . . because in daily reality the right to life is not respected, [nor] the right to our ancestral lands, [nor the right] to our cultural practices without paternalism.”1...

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