Lacandon

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(Redirected from Lacandon language)

The Lacandon people are an indigenous Native American Maya people who live mostly in the jungles of the Mexican state of Chiapas. Their homeland is sometimes known as La Selva Lacandona ("The Lacandon Jungle").

The Lacandon were the only Maya in New Spain never conquered by Spain. They escaped Spanish control throughout the colonial era by living in small communities in the jungles of Chiapas and Peten, avoiding contact with Europeans and Ladinos. Lacandon customs remained close to those of the Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peasants. As recently as the late 19th century some bound the heads of infants, resulting in the distinctively shaped forehead seen in Classic Maya art. They continue to speak a Maya language closely related to Yucatec Maya. Until the mid 20th century they had very little contact with the outside world, and worshiped the Maya Gods in the ancient temples of their ancestors. Some continue their Pre-Christian beliefs, especially in the north; another part of the Lacandon people, especially in the south, were converted to a South State Baptist sect of Christianity in the late 20th century, especially by a crypto-missionary society calling itself Summer Institute of Linguistics.

Traditional songs of the Lacandons, a cultural heritage threatened by the missionary activities mentioned above, were recorded in February 1968 by a group of Swedish students of musicology, in collaboration with the Casa Na Bolom in San Cristóbal de las Casas. A publication in CD form of those recordings is now planned.

Since the 1970s the government has paid the Lacandons for rights to log timber in their forests, which has resulted in them being ever more integrated into modern society.

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