Guatemala, Photo Essays, United States

How Immigration to the United States is Changing Patron Saint Day in Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Guatemala

January 11, 2010 By James Rodriguez

TODOS SANTOS CUCHUMATAN, Guatemala — High up in the Cuchumatanes sierra, Maya Mam communities have safeguarded their customs and traditions for centuries. Nevertheless, exploitation, violence, discrimination and the ever-present effects of globalization, continue to force men and women out of their communities and into the risky venture of migration to “El Norte” — the term locals use for the United States. But what effects do such mass departures have on local culture? What are the social and economic impacts of migration? What are the psychosocial consequences of deportation from the United States? The annual All Saints Day festival in Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Guatemala, gives us a glimpse of life of an indigenous community in a twenty-first century remittance republic.

To view this photo essay as a slideshow, click the first image.

James Rodríguez is a photojournalist based in Guatemala. This photo essay is adapted from a version that originally appeared on his Web site “Mi Mundo” on Nov. 24, 2009 and an expanded version is available for purchase in book form here.

About James Rodriguez

James is an independent photojournalist based in Guatemala who specializes in documenting that country's post-war social movement. Raised in Mexico City, James holds a B.A. in Cultural Geography from the University of California at Los Angeles. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Indypendent of New York and Yes! Magazine, and can be viewed at Mi Mundo.