Tag Archives: Deer Dancers

Q’eqchi’ Maya Students Illustrate the Dance of the Deer

Tumul K’in Community Radio Class

Tumul K'in class illustrated the Dance of the Deer legend
Tumul K’in Q’eqchi’ and Mopan Maya students listened to the 1978 Q’eqchi’ recording of “The Dance of the Deer” told by Francisco Choco’oj Paau of Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. While everyone in the class was familiar with the “Deer Dance,” no one had heard the legend.

While visiting the intercultural Maya educational center at Tumul K’in in Blue Creek, Toledo District, Belize, the students in Aurelio Sho’s class on community radio and cultural identity listened to the original Q’eqchi’ recording of “The Dance of the Deer,” Laj Xajol Kej (from the Berinstein 2013 narrative collection), and then everyone in the  class, including the instructor, Aurelio Sho (in orange shirt) illustrated the story.

Tumul K'in class illustrated the Dance of the Deer legend
The Deer Dancer, drawn by Aurelio Sho, Tumul K’in instructor and Ak’ Kutan Community Radio Manager

Before the students began to illustrate the legend, the first question asked was, “Can we have a copy of the book?” At this time, they do not own any books. Imagine being the co-author of the first book you ever owned! That is the goal. Each book will list all of the artists in the class and it will include a CD of the narration, as well as the marimba music that is played during the Deer Dance performance. In this way, parents and grandparents can listen to the collection, while their children begin to read it.

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