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Dislocation and Cultural Conquest of the Highland Maya

The scene is set in 1524. The calendar diviner, Aj Itz, is praying to the Maya deities and counting through the small red seeds that lie in groups of four on his low table, while the Quiche-Maya war chief Tecun Uman paces before him. Each time the diviner comes to the last group, he shakes his head and throws up his hands in dismay. He tells the war chief the Spanish are coming, just as the warrior's dream had predicted, and that there is no escaping defeat at their hands. Tecun, disturbed, orders him to divine again, to call on the ancestral gods to overcome this threat to the Quiche kingdom. Resigned, the diviner sits before his table ...

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