The Mayans Among Us conveys the unique experiences of Central American indigenous immigrants to the Great Plains, many of whom are political refugees from repressive, war-torn countries. Ann L. Sittig, a Spanish instructor, and Martha Florinda González, a Mayan community leader living in Nebraska, have gathered the oral histories of contemporary Mayan women living in the state and working in meatpacking plants. Sittig and González initiated group dialogues with Mayan women about the psychological, sociological, and economic wounds left by war, poverty, immigration, and residence in a new country. Distinct from Latin America’s economic immigrants and often overlooked in media coverage of Latino and Latina migration to the plains, the Mayans share their concerns and hopes as they negotiate their new home, culture, language, and life in Nebraska. Longtime Nebraskans share their perspectives on the immigrants as well.
The Mayans Among Us poignantly explores how Mayan women in rural Nebraska meatpacking plants weave together their three distinct identities: Mayan, Central American, and American.