RigobertaMenchu By Jordan Busshaus
Childhoood • RigobertaMenchú was born on January 9, 1959, in Chimel, a village in the Quiché province in the mountainous northwest region of Guatemala. • Her mother was a midwife. • Her father was a day laborer.
rIGOBERTA One of her books that vividly describes her childhood.
LIFE ON THE PLANTATIONS • Every year she followed her parents to the southern coastal plantations (large farms), where they spent months as laborers picking cotton and coffee. • Two of her brothers died on the plantations, one after being poisoned by insecticides and the other because of malnutrition. • She started working on the plantations when she was only eight.
pLANTATIONS Palm oil plantation
LIFE WITH THE LATINOS • at age thirteen she experienced her first close contact with people of Spanish culture • She experienced much discrimination when she was a maid for a wealthy family in Guatemala City. • They made her sleep on the floor on a mat next to the family dog (that was treated better than her)
Troubles in Guatemala • The country was ruled by military officers. • They ruled the country harshly, tolerating little protest or disagreement • When a guerilla movement opposed to the military rulers began in 1962, the government responded violently. • They arrested and killed not only the guerrillas, but also those who supported them or were believed to support them, especially in the countryside.
Guatemala A picture of the countryside where many people were accused of supporting the guerillas.
POLITICAL ACTIVITIES • Menchú became politically active, inspired in part by her religious beliefs. • Like many others in Central America, she was influenced by Liberation Theology. • This was a movement that believes the Bible should be read through the eyes of the poor and that Jesus Christ had a special message of freedom for poor people..
POLITICAL ACTIVITIES CONTINUED.. • Another important influence was Menchú's father, Vicente, who was active in the Peasant Unity Committee. • This is a group that fought to obtain land for peasants and to protect the land they held from being seized by wealthy landowners. • RigobertaMenchú joined the committee in 1979, and was asked to organize the country's twenty-two Indian groups against exploitation.
A MAJOR LOSS.. • In late 1979 Menchu lost her teenage brother who was tortured and killed by the army. • A year later she lost her dad as well. He was at a city protest when the army attacked the embassy burning it, and killing thirty-nine people, including Menchu’s father. • The next year mother was kidnapped tortured and killed by the Guatemalan Army.
Anita and Rigoberta Rigoberta and her sister Anita march in Guatemala City to memorialize their father’s death.
WORLD WIDE CAMPAIGN • In Mexico she began an international crusade to represent the hardships of the Guatemalan Indians and joined the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations. • In 1983, while Menchú was in Paris to promote her cause, she dictated her life story to Elizabeth Burgos. ( an anthropologist)
Campaign continued.. • The result was the widely read book I, RigobertaMenchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala, which was translated into more than a dozen languages. • It brought her international attention and helped her to become the foremost spokesperson for indigenous peoples.
WORLD FIGURE • Menchú remains an active voice for those who lack representation. • In 2000 she filed charges in a Spanish court against several officials in Guatemala's former military governments, accusing them of genocide, torture, and state terrorism against about two hundred thousand people who had been killed in her country during the 1980s. • She has also been a vocal opponent of the effects of globaliztion. • In early 2002 she was among the most celebrated speakers at the World Social Forum.
Book signing She brings hope to all people around the world as she signs her new book for many.