The majority of people in Guatemala are descendants of Mayan Indians. It is into this culture that Rigoberta Menchu Tum was born in 1959 in a small village of Chimel. She began work as a very young girl and educated herself.
Sadly, her mother, father and a brother were killed during a time of political unrest in Guatemala because her father supposedly "opposed the landowners." Her father was burned alive in a building while involved in a peaceful protest. It is out of her own hardships and this violent action against her own family that led her to supporting non-violent action. It is written of her that she became "an active political worker in labor, compesino and human rights groups as well as the defense and promotion of the rights and values of Indigenous Peoples."
In 1980 she was exiled from Guatemala and moved to Mexico. In 1983 her autobiography was published and since that time she has published other books and poems.
In 1992 Rigoberta Menchu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "in recognition of her work for social justice and ethnocultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous people." Upon receipt of this honor she became the first indigienous and youngest person ever to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. Ms Menchu is still alive today and living in Mexico.
We are in awe of this Gusty Woman and all those that she serves and represents!
Copyright M. A. Webb, 2004-2006. All Rights Reserved
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