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.
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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.