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Kaqchikel Maya residents of San Antonio Aguas Calientes and Santa Catarina Barahona (neighboring towns in Guatemala) tell the same origin story. This story is used to root historically their concepts of collective identity and community. However, residents in each town hold that those in the other town have no real claim to the story. Both towns can equally claim this origin story, but the debate between residents of these towns offers an opportunity to discuss how the meaning of place is related to the historical and ethnographic contexts of which that place's residents are part. By weighing the story and residents' explanations about why it is theirs against previous historical accounts, I show that Spanish colonialism, religious evangelism, economic competition, and development contributed to divisions between the towns and skewed their concepts of origin.


Publisher Acknowledgement:

This is the Publisher’s PDF of the following article made available by University of Chicago Press: Little, W. (2003). Common Origins/"Different" Identities in Two Kaqchikel Maya Towns. Journal of Anthropological Research, 59(2), 205-224.



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