Internationally recognized author and scholar Victor Montejo delivers the keynote address for the symposium. In his lecture, Professor Montejo asks:
What is the role of scholars and activists in the renewal of the Maya world? While ajq’ij or Maya priests and diviners study the prophecies and explanations of the Maya calendar, we Native scholars should continue our efforts to rectify the historical record while producing knowledge through our creativity in literature, art, ceremonies, and research. So, we may propose new ideas that may become useful in the process of renewing the world. Drawing from indigenous knowledge, I understand cycles of time as “eras”, or periods of growth and improvement (orthogenesis). The achievement of great knowledge is followed by a consequent decline as a result of excessive greed and disrespect of life. This process is expressed in the myths of indigenous people as a continuous process of world building, world maintenance, world dismantling, and world renewal. From a native exegesis of the Popol Vuh we will see these patterns of creation, nourishment, and failure or cyclical destruction of life, and the eras of human existence earth with reference to 13 Bak’tun.