Stunning photographic images of the Maya Indians in Guatemala excavating and reviving their buried culture
After 500 years of colonial suppression and a brutal civil war, the Maya Indians in Guatemala finally have a chance to live in peace. Latin America's longest civil war ended on December 29, 1996, with a peace accord between the conservative government of President Arzu and the Marxist guerrilla group URNG. According to official estimates, 150,000 people were killed in the thirty-six-year war, and another 50,000 are still missing. Most of the victims were Maya Indians who were brutally oppressed by both sides of the conflict.
Now the Maya are searching the killing fields for their dead, rediscovering their own grandiose culture and history. They are finally free to practice their ancient religion at remote altars on mountaintops, in caves, ravines or near waterfalls, and to begin to heal their souls. Magnum photographer Thomas Hoepker visited Guatemala three times in 1997. He has captured many aspects of this remarkable period of transition in an array of astonishing, full-color shots that will disturb, enchant, and ultimately instruct.