Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

Return of the Maya

  • Rating: ***
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $85.00
  • Date: Copyright 1992. Released 1992.
  • Descriptors: Mayas. Indians of Central America. Anthropology. Refugees - Mexico.
  • Production Information: Live action. Produced by Judith Mann, John DeGraf. Color. Also available in PAL, SECAM . Spanish. Dubbed. Subtitled. 29 min.
  • Available from: The Video Project 5332 College Ave., Ste. 101 Oakland, CA 94618 (510) 655-9050, (800) 4-PLANET
  • Cataloging: 306.08'974 Mayas - Social conditions|| Refugees - Mexico||Documentary films
  • Print Entry #: 5:453
  • Reviewer: Margaret Loucks

    This informative documentary describes the plight of the Mayan refugees who were forced to flee their homes in Guatemala. In the 1970s and early 1980s more than 400 Guatemalan villages were wiped out by military conflict. Seventy-five thousand persons died along with the disappearance of another 40,000. Peasants, students, and urban workers had challenged the country's military rule and formed committees to demand better food, roads, and schools. The response was persecution and all-out war against the guerrilla groups. The hardest hit were the Mayans and more than 100,000 of them sought refuge in Mexico, their original homeland 1,000 years ago.

    Today, Mexico's Quetzal Edzna refugee camp is home to several thousand Guatemalan exiles. The camp is jointly administered by the United Nations and the Mexican government. Many of the refugees work with Mexican archaeologists in helping to excavate the ruins of their ancestors - the once highly developed Mayan city of Edzna. The archaeological excavations and restoration of the ancient ruins have resulted thus far in several buildings being uncovered. The ultimate goal is one day to see the site as a world-class tourist attraction. More importantly, however, is the pride and knowledge that have been gained by the refugees themselves. Many knew nothing of their heritage nor who they were.

    The video does a good job in presenting the plight of the refugees and their current status in Mexico. Each year the camp residents celebrate the anniversary of their arrival and the progress that has been made in Mexico. But while they accept the new ways, they are making efforts to preserve their own culture as well.

    The production is effective and informative. Subtitles used in certain segments are clear and easy to read. Suitable for high school age through adult, the video will be most useful in social studies, anthropology, and ethnic studies classes.

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