Native American Oral Narratives in Mexico and Guatemala

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Latin American Studies Program, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
This essay is a brief survey of anthropological and folklore scholarship on oral narratives told by contemporary speakers of indigenous languages living in Mexico and Guatemala and recorded in the indigenous language since 1900. Topics covered in this essay include a brief history of the collection of oral narratives from present-day speakers of Mesoamerican languages, and the uses of those narratives as expressions of memory, in applications of the comparative method, as expressions of cultural logic, as accounts of personal experience, in performance and dialogue, and in ethnic activism. I aim to summarize work done toward understanding how oral narratives are ways of organizing experience in story form and offer suggestions for further research.
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