Climate Resiliency and Ancestral Knowledge: A University-Community Partnership with Maya Organizations in Guatemala’s Dry Corridor

Rebekah Kaump
UC Davis

Guatemala’s Dry Corridor is among the world’s most vulnerable areas to climate change. Extended droughts in this region have led to unprecedented crop failures and spurred record-setting emigration. Several graduate students at UC Davis and UC Berkeley have been working with Mayan organizations in the dry corridor to leverage ancestral knowledge to strengthen climate resilience. To date, however, there have only been sporadic opportunities for these organizations and the graduate students working with them to collaborate. By providing a venue for ongoing exchange, this working group aims to: 1) support community-based climate-resilience in the dry corridor, and 2) generate academic knowledge that takes a wider, regional lens on issues of climate change resilience and Indigenous Ancestral knowledge. This working group, which compares different organizations across contexts to achieve a broader, regional perspective, contributes to an emerging debate in the humanities on the role that traditional ecological knowledge and Indigenous worldviews can and must play in the international response to the climate emergency.