his book contemplates attempts to reckon, or to be in the know. De-
spite working in Guatemala since 1985, I have to admit that little did I
know, and thus this book owes its existence to the support, challenges, and
fluidarity of those below, and many others. While I explore claims of authen-
ticity, the dictionary defines that as “one who does things herself,” making
this artifact you hold deeply inauthentic.
First, and most important, I want to thank all the people in Guatemala
who have given so generously of their time, experience, and analyses, espe-
cially all the Xoye of Joyabaj and its hamlets. Anastasia Mejía and her family
have been enormously helpful—a true intellectual companion, also Maestro
Andrés and Maestra Santos and their family; Guillermo, Irma, and their
family; Alfonso García and his family. Doña Cae and her kin have offered
a second home. In Patzulá I am deeply grateful to the teachers who shared
their room and much else, and to Esperanza León and her family. Also, José
de la Cruz, his family, and the young men who graciously and often thrill-
ingly recounted their experiences of tránsito (journeying), and everyone
else in that beautiful place with its enormous sky, who answered questions,
shared a soft drink on the steep mountain paths, told ghost stories in the
firelight, went on carnival rides, and watched movies with me.
While not technically Xoye, I am deeply indebted to Liz Oglesby and
Simone Remijnse. Without Liz I would never have gone to Joyabaj or writ-
ten this book, and she constantly inspires me by her example of a geógrafa 
comprometida (committed geographer). Simone biked up to meet us on our
first blustery night in Joyabaj with fresh bread under her arm and since then
has generously shared her insightful understandings of the town’s complexi-
ties. I have also been blessed with compañeras y compañeros imprescindibles at
aVancso (Association for the Advancement of the Social Sciences in Guate-
mala). It is the living and combatiente legacy of Myrna Mack Chang. Special
thanks go to Clara Arenas, Rodolfo Kepfer, Matilde González, Rubén Nájera,
the hermanos Caballero, Juan Vandeveire, and all the team members. The
quality and complexity of their written work and their practice of shared
intellectual life in the midst of constant danger are exemplary. Thanks to
the people of ciRMa (Center for Mesoamerican Research), especially Tani
Adams and Arturo Taracena, and of Grupo de Mujeres Mayas Kaqla’, espe-
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