Almost all indigenous cultures have a unique understanding of what it means to live well. For the Mayan Tz’utujil people of Guatemala, to live well, or Utz’ K’aslimaal, is characterized by a life of balance, of proper relationships with the community and the land which holds them, and the fullness of a simple yet meaningful existence.
In English, Utz’ K’aslimaal loosely translates to “the good life” or “to live well”. We use both English phrases throughout in reference to Utz’ K’aslimaal, although neither captures its full essence. The reason, is that both sit too close to western notions of wellbeing or welfare, which are not equivalents at all. With Utz’ K’aslimaal, the subject of wellbeing is not about the individual, but the individual in the social context of their community and in a unique environmental situation.
At the most fundamental level, the Utz’ K’aslimaal Collective is an active expression of reverence for the highland indigenous communities of Guatemala, their wisdom, their struggle, and their practical way of life.
Utz K believes that the distinctive cosmovision and way of life of Guatemala’s highland indigenous communities offer needed wisdom, guidance, and a practical path forward in light of such global crises as the disintegration of communities, the loss of meaning, and the destruction of the natural environment.
Rooted in this conviction, Utz K seeks to create space for indigenous knowledge, practice and experience to be shared with non-indigenous learners, and between indigenous peoples from across the Americas.
Via our established relationships with different indigenous and campesino communities in the Guatemalan highlands, and through the ecological development of a small piece of land on the outskirts Santiago Atitlan, we hope to offer a glimpse into how Utz’ K’aslimaal might open new possibilities for the construction of sustainable, just, and balanced communities around the world.