When I asked my students why they wanted to study with me, most of them mentioned their interest in ancient history and culture.
They had no idea I was a Maya.
“My whole life, I had been fascinated by the Maya,” said my fifth grader.
“I wanted to know more about them, so I started going to museums.”
But after taking the classes for a year, my students weren’t the only ones.
When I finally started to understand why people who were from a different cultural background might be more interested in studying with me — and they had a lot of questions to ask me — I felt a sense of hope and inspiration.
They were willing to share their stories, their hopes, their frustrations.
I started asking questions of myself.
“You can’t just ask questions,” my first-grade student said.
“It’s not a question you should ask.”
And so I began doing it.
And then I continued.
“Why do I want to study in Maya?” she asked.
“Because I love it!”
And I began to understand that it was my duty to share my knowledge with my students.
I began teaching them about their cultural heritage, and my students became interested in the Maya.
And when they returned to their homes, I started sharing their experiences in Maya museums, and their stories.
It became my mission to be a resource for Maya culture.
Maya culture is not only the Maya’s cultural heritage; it is also the Maya-centered, global Maya culture that is the subject of Maya heritage in the U.S. and across the globe.
I want Maya students to see themselves as part of the global Maya community.
The people who come to my classes are not strangers.
They have lived in the United States for generations, and are familiar with the American Dream.
I’ve met Maya students who have grown up in their homes and studied in America.
The American Dream is an American dream.
It is not just about being able to afford to send your kids to college, but also the American dream of making a better life for your family, your community, your country.
Maya heritage is a global, universal heritage.
It extends from the United Nations to the Uyghur Autonomous Region in China.
Maya history and history are universal.
Maya identity is universal.
It includes not just the culture of the Maya, but the Maya identity and its history and its way of life.
I’m a global citizen who is a citizen of Maya culture, and I’m also a globalist who is not a citizen only of Maya.
So my students can understand that they are not just a member of a single cultural community.
I know that it can be difficult to understand this concept, but when I ask my students to imagine themselves in a place and time, they can see themselves and their experiences as part, in part, of a global Maya tradition.
I love to hear from my students and to see their stories through the eyes of others.
Maya students are my first priority when it comes to my curriculum.
But I also care deeply about the future of the UYG in the Americas.
In order to preserve the legacy of Maya history, and in order to bring Maya students and other indigenous people into the mainstream of American culture, I have to be honest and transparent about my views on the cultural heritage of the Americas and the world at large.
I don’t like to talk about my beliefs, and so I try to be as open as I can be about what I believe.
I am the first to admit that I am not the only person to be interested in preserving the history of the Incas and their civilization, and it is difficult to say what other people are like or what their values are.
But the only way to tell the whole story is to be transparent and honest.
I believe that the only thing that matters is what people do, and if you’re not honest about your beliefs, people will never understand.
In fact, I believe the more you’re dishonest, the more people won’t believe in you.
I do believe that when I speak to people about their values, and the way they see the world, the truth is the most important thing in the world.
But if you don’t want to be dishonest, then you don, and that’s OK.
I also believe that our world is at a critical juncture, and as we become more diverse and we learn more about our origins and our past, our futures and our values, I also hope we will learn more from each other.
I think the only people who are truly interested in understanding the past are the people who know the past and the present.
If you are honest with yourself, and you let your emotions guide your actions, you will be the person you want to see as a citizen.
And I hope you are as passionate about Maya history as I am.