Most recent books about Chiapas, Mexico, focus on political conflicts and the indigenous movement for human rights at the macro level. None has explored those conflicts and struggles in-depth through an individual woman's life story. The Journey of a Tzotzil-Maya Woman of Chiapas, Mexico now offers that perspective in one woman's own words. Anthropologist Christine Eber met "Antonia" in 1986 and has followed her life's journey ever since. In this book, they recount Antonia's life story and also reflect on challenges and rewards they have experienced in working together, offering insight into the role of friendship in anthropological research, as well as into the transnational movement of solidarity with the indigenous people of Chiapas that began with the Zapatista uprising.
Antonia was born in 1962 in San Pedro Chenalho, a Tzotzil-Maya township in highland Chiapas. Her story begins with memories of childhood and progresses to young adulthood, when Antonia began working with women in her community to form weaving cooperatives while also becoming involved in the Word of God, the progressive Catholic movement known elsewhere as Liberation Theology. In 1994, as a wife and mother of six children, she joined a support base for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Recounting her experiences in these three interwoven movements, Antonia offers a vivid and nuanced picture of working for social justice while trying to remain true to her people's traditions.
Christine Eber is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at New Mexico State University. Her previous books include Women and Alcohol in a Highland Maya Town: Water of Hope, Water of Sorrow and Women of Chiapas: Making History in Times of Struggle and Hope (coedited with Christine Kovic). She is a founding member of Las Cruces-Chiapas Connection, a network of volunteers that assists Chiapas weavers to sell their products through fair trade.
Acknowledgments Prologue Background Notes Notes on the Book's Two Voices and Key Terms People in Antonia's Life Time Line of Key Events Mentioned in the Book Map of Highland Chiapas Part I. Becoming a Batz'i Antz (True Woman) 1. A Childhood Memory 2. Parents 3. Learning to Work 4. School 5. Making One's Soul Arrive 6. Listening to the Word of God 7. Courtship and Marriage 8. Learning to Be a Wife 9. Learning to Be a Mother 10. Learning to Manage a Household 11. Animals 12. Water 13. Working with Coffee Part II. Contesting the Status Quo, Creating a Different World 1. The Time of Fire 2. 1997 3. International Encounters 4. Sons 5. Daughters 6. Daughters-in-Law and Grandchildren 7. Cargos 8. Cooperatives 9. Traveling 10. The International Folk Art Market Part III. Gains and Losses, Lessons Learned 1. Envy 2. Suffering 3. A Difficult Trip 4. Faith and Love 5. Exodus 6. Death 7. Life So Far Epilogue Afterword Appendix A. Antonia's Words in Tzotzil, Spanish, and English Appendix B. Life Histories from Chiapas and Other Places Notes Glossary References Index