Maiga Milbourne's Reviews > I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala

I, Rigoberta Menchú by Rigoberta Menchú
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's review
Aug 04, 2011

it was amazing

While in Guatemala I brought a copy of "I, Rigoberta Menchu" to better understand the culture, politics, and history of the place I was visiting. It's a beautiful book especially to read while surrounded by the described scenery. I asked many Kakchiquel Maya in the Atitlan region their thoughts on Rigoberta. Many were inspired simply by her incarnation of an Indigenous woman who had shared their struggles on a world stage.

In the capital, the poor were less admiring. Many felt she had abandoned their causes in her current career as a politician. I'm interested to learn more. I did a few preliminary investigations to understand the controversy surrounding her. Many claims have been made that parts of her memoir are forged. I'd be really interested to understand culturally, some ideas of individuality. My perception in Guatemala was that many have a very collective identity. Plus, many felt that the story of Indigenous struggle had to be told and was more compelling in the first person. I don't feel like any of these criticisms of Rigoberta should distract from the more pressing concern of the on-going poverty and racism against Indigenous people worldwide.

However, I do understand the need for truth and clarity. It's hard-- reading Rigoberta's account of her life it's easy to understand her motivations for telling her story as she did. Regardless of some of the surrounding debate, she provides an amazing access point for understanding the plight of Indigenous in Guatemala and their amazing resistance. I only wish she or someone else would continue sharing this story, struggle, and press for more change.

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