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Local Mayan Dancers Featured in El Tiempo Latino
AWAL, local Mayan dancers who have frequently collaborated with UUCA’s Partners for Arlington and Guatemala (PAG) and the Sacred Dance Troupe were featured in the February 3rd issue of El Tiempo Latino.
The free weekly newspaper that serves the Hispanic community in this area cited the dancers for identifying themselves as indigenous Native Americans in the 2010 Census. The article noted that the Census Bureau reported a 30 percent increase in numbers of Native Americans in the most recent census. Of the 5.2 million persons so reporting themselves, 2.3 million marked “mixed indigenous with one or more categories of race.”
Dancers Ubaldo Sanchez and his wife Julia, Guatemalans who live in Arlington, checked indigenous, but also wrote “Maya” on the side because they are directly descended from the Maya. Other AWAL members did the same.
Tina Norris, Census analyst, said “I think that the numbers surprised all of us. Those reporting themselves as Native Americans now account for 1.7 percent of the general U.S. population compared to 1.5 percent in 2000.”
Members of AWAL speak Mam at home and want to foster their culture. Florinda Lopez said, “When I put on my typical embroidered clothes, people ask where I’m from and I tell them with pride.” Like Ubaldo, many want to retain their culture for their families as they become integrated here. All speak Spanish as a second language and are learning English, their third