Stories of Mayan Culture

Reviewed by Laura Cleveland. 
"It all began when the gods inscribed their great signs on the stelae of time."
From A Mayan Life by Gaspar Pedro Gonzalez.

This is a wonderfully broad and appealing website, a rich addition to the international culture of the Internet. It contains 13 stories, one book chapter on Mayan village life, and a pronunciation guide. There is, as well, information on Mayan numerics, calendrics, and astronomy.

ACCURACY: Maya Cosmology is given correctly. Vigesimal counting system (based on units of twenty) and rabbit centered tales are corroborated by the Maya World Studies Center web page  The author of the web page is given, along with text and graphics copyright information.

AUTHORITY: The Maya Culture website does an outstanding job of citing information on both the translator of the tales and the means in which the stories were collected. There is a hyperlink to an entire page of information regarding the tales translator, Fernando Penalosa. These stories were "told to Fernando Penalosa by don Pedro Miguel Say, a famous Q'anjob'al storyteller from San Miguel Acatan, Hueheutenango, Guatemala, who now lives in Los Angeles, California, in the Koreatown area." Mr. Penalosa is a sociolinguist with the University of California at Long Beach.

OBJECTIVITY: This website is not entirely objective. It is filled with pride, authored by the descendents "of those who built the greatest ancient civilization of Central America." The language used to describe Europeans entry onto the South American continent seems slightly "edgy" but given the devastation which ensued, it is not entirely without reason. Sr. Penalosa is translating the tales into Spanish, as this is the language most beneficial to the people of the Yucatan today. The Yax Te' Press, publisher of these stories, is a non-profit 501c3 organization.

CURRENCY: Last update is given as August 6, 1996. Two links to the Canadian Museum of Civilization were dead, as well as a couple of others. The site is by and large very navigable, but badly needs updating.