A web site for the Lacandon Maya communities
en espańol

Pepe Castillo,This photo was taken by Trudi Blom on one of
her first expeditions into the Lacandon Rain Forest in 1943.

photo by G. Blom


Who are the Lacandon Maya?

The Lacandons are the indigenous peoples of La Selva Lacandona in Chiapas, Mexico. They refer to themselves as the Hach Winik, meaning True People in their language. Their culture is inseparable from the Lacandon Rainforest where they have lived for hundreds of years. It is sometimes claimed that the Lacandons are the direct decendants of the classical civilizations of Palenque, Yaxchilan and Bonampak. More likely, their ancestors came to the jungle of south eastern Chiapas to escape Spanish colonial domination during the 17th & 18th century. Their exact origins are unclear and there are cultural and linguistic differences between the northern and southern groups. Historically, the Lacandons lived independently in small clans dispersed throughout the vast and unoccupied jungle. In this way they survived by avoiding detection or contact with foreign diseases. The Hach Winik remained connected through intermarriage, shared traditions, religious beliefs and a common language. Until early in this century they lived secluded in the rainforest developing a culture uniquely adapted to their environment. As late as the 1940's Lacandon culture was still beyond the influence of Christian missionaries. Today, in the village of Najá, the elder Lacandons continue to inspire the community with unique mythological stories, dream interpretations, rituals and agricultural principles that are purely Mayan. Numbering no more than 500 today, they have had to face unprecedented changes in the wake of the massive frontier settlement and deforestation of Lacandon Rainforest since the 1950's.

Najá; Jaunita, and Nuk with her son.
There are many albino children in Najá.

photo by R. Johnston


en espańol

Invasion of the Reserva Natural de Nahá.

Who are the Lacandon Maya? * The modern Lacandon communities * Chan K'in Viejo
Deforestation and the Lacandon Maya * Lacandon agriculture: Sustainable use...
Ritual objects and sacred places * Yaxchilan (Chixocla) and Palenque
The Lacandon gods * Lacandon Dream Symbolism * The Casa de la Cultura projects
Alternative tourism * Trudi Blom * Na Bolom Cultural Centre
Community Heath Program * Special needs * Artisan Project
History Part 2: The years of change
Roberto Bruce * Bibliography
Why a web site for the Lacandons? * EVENTS* Email & LINKS
Could you help us with Spanish translations?

MEMORIA LACANDONA - an interactive documentary CD ROM
Photographs of the Lacandons, 1933-34 - from Collections Lacandons par Georgette Soustelle, Catalogues de Musée de l'Homme, Paris 1966
Photos from Najá and Lacanjá, 1995-96

Returning from fishing
on Lake Metzabok.

photo by R. Johnston

More to come...
Development of the web site continues. Along with pages on Lacandon Maya culture, updated bulletins on current community projects will appear regularly.

next page


At this time, the Lacandon communities are not "computerized' or connected to the Internet. (There are no telephone lines.) E mail can be sent to this address where a network will eventually hand deliver messages that need to reach the communities. Please be patient.


return to Contents * next page

Links to other sites on the Web

There are also links at the bottom of the various indexed pages.

Na Bolom Cultural Center - a cultural centre with a 45 year relationship with the Lacandon communities
Hach Winik, the Lacandon Maya of Southern Mexico - a study by Didier Boremanse
Sacred Monkey River - by Christopher Shaw
Conflicts of Land Tenure and Conservation in the Lacandon Forest - by Hugo A. Guillen Trujillo
International Service for Peace - many reports on the conflict in Chiapas
National Commission for Democracy in Mexico
Sobre la Massacre en Acteal, Chenalho
Links to Mexican and Related WWW Sites: Mayan Culture
Index of Native American Resources on the Internet
El Planeta Platica (The Earth Speaks) - Eco Travels in Latin America. See issue on Mexico
Eco Tourism Mexico - from El Planeta Platica: traveling without trampling through Mexico
Cloudforest to Rainforest - bicycle tour of Chiapas
Laguna de Miramar in the Lacandón Rain Forest - a tour with Fernando Ochoa

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