Hunab Ku Program is a gathering of stories from the life of the Ventura family and members of the Quezada family. Music and dances from Guatemala.
Hunab Ku is the concept the ancient Mayans said is the gateway to other galaxies beyond our sun. Gazing upon this concept allows you to transcend the barriers of perception and time.
Hunab Ku rebuilt the world after three deluges, which poured from the mouth of a sky serpent. The first world he created was inhabited by dwarfs, the builders of the cities. The second world was inhabited by the Dzolob, 'the offenders', an obscure race. The third and final world Hunab Ku created for the Maya themselves.
The oral traditions, the music and the dances from the Mayan community of Los Angeles came from the creation of the Maya, as well as the mathematical mysteries of the Time-Message that the designers-priests left with the Geometric PI Value of 3.146264371 and how it relates to the Decimal System.

Stage Of The Arts, Inc.






Los Angeles, May 15, 2005

Fieldwork is the hallmark of cultural anthropology. Whether in a New Guinea village or on the streets of Los Angeles, the anthropologist goes to where people live and “does field work”. This means asking questions, eating strange foods, learning a new language, watching ceremonias, taking field notes, washing clothes, writing letters home, tracing out genealogies, observing plan, interviewing informants, and hundreds of other things. This vast range of activities often obscures the most fundamental task of all fieldwork: doing ethnography.

Ethnography is the work of describing a culture. The essential core of this activity aims to understand another way of life from the native point of view. The goal of ethnography, as Bronislaw Malinowski put it, is “to grasp the native’s point of view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world” (1922:25). Fieldwork, then, involves the disciplined study of what the world is like to people who have learned to see, hear, speak, think, and act in ways that are different. Rather than studying people, ethnography means learning from people.

This Hunab Ku program of public presentations conducted from December 2004 to April 2005 is a research for actual stories to learn about the Mayan people of California. The Mayans are transnational communities coming into North America from the diverse countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize, Nicaragua and Mexico.

Hunab Ku program is an ethnographic interview with ten storytellers conducted by Jorge Luis Rodriguez and Maria Esther Ortiz from the Afrocuban Research Institute ( based on the enculturation (natural process of learning a particular culture) according to the definition of developmental research by James P. Spradler of Macalester College.

We implemented this research also from our experience in the transculturation process of the merging of two cultures according to Fernando Ortiz (1881-1969) and our extensive fieldwork since 1976 exploring the complex syncretism of African and European cultures in America.

“To describe this process the word trans-culturation , stemming from Latin roots, provides us with a term that does not contain the implication of one certain culture toward which the other must tend, but an exchange between two cultures, both of them active, both contributing their share, and both co-operating to bring about a new reality of civilization”, writes Malinowski in his 1940 prologue to Cuban Counterpoint, a monumental essay by Fernando Ortiz.

This research is really about learning from the learner; this conversation lead by four adults from the Mayan territories of Guatemala evolves into the learning’s of the two teenager daughters Shirley and Karin. And more important, this work is presented by the California Council of Humanities as part of the California Stories Fund because of the many girls and boys who may be able to learn more about their own place in the multiethnic dimension of California.

You may be a K9 or K12 teacher, or you may be a grandmother spending time with your grandchildren… these transcripts and digital applications are made available to you to bring out of yourself that storyteller that Californians always want to hear.

Our presentations are bilingual in Spanish because native-language stories are needed to minimize the influence of translation. Native-language questions serve to remind our informants that the ethnographer wants to learn their language; we want to pass to you the answers coming from that relationship… so that you may also pass it to a third party, no matter if you are planning on presenting these Hunab Ku stories in Spanish or English.

Your tools are the written transcripts and a power point presentation. Also a video slide show of fifteen minutes with musical background, digital photography and a website application at containing a guide to more diverse information.

We will continue to work with original video and audio recordings to develop an ethnographic novel from this fieldwork. Today we share this preliminary learning’s with you hoping that you will share it with all the Shirley and Karin’s who are learning to build the future of our California.


- Hunab Ku Web Page:
- Hunab Ku Transcript of Interview.
- Hunab Ku Power Point presentation.
- Hunab Ku Clips.

- Other Internet Resources:
- PBS: Lost King of the Maya:
- Flash movie at
- Spanish Resource:

- Internet search: Google. Keywords: Hunab Ku, Tecun Uman, Ajiz.
- Internet search: Guatemala, maps. Keywords: Quetzaltenango, Olintepeque.

- Upcoming Exhibition: Lords of Creation: The Origins of Sacred Maya Kingship, a National Geographic Exhibition coming September 10, 2005 to January 2, 2006 to LACMA. (Los Angeles County Museum of Arts)


Afrocuban Research Institute
Stage Of The Arts, Inc.
P.O. Box 26688, Los Angeles, California 90026

“This project is made possible in part by a grant from the CALIFORNIA COUNCIL FOR THE HUMANITIES as part of its statewide California Stories Initiative. The Council is an independent non-profit organization and a state affiliate of the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES. For more information on the Council and the California Stories Initiative visit” “Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the California Council for the Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.”


Printable version .txt


The online release of the Afrocuban Anthology Winter Journal 2004 at