This article was written by the Peace Brigades International- Canada Project

Still from video.

On December 18, PBI-Guatemala posted on Facebook:

“We share this documentary in which TZK’AT, the Network of Ancestral Healers of Territorial Community Feminism from Iximulew – Guatemala, shares its association with native women defenders of life in situations of political risk from healing as a cosmic political path and measure of comprehensive security.”

The 21-minute video (in Spanish) can be seen here.

It includes Mayan territorial community feminist Lorena Kab’nal.

PBI-Guatemala has had a long relationship with her.

In 2020, El Pais reported that PBI has accompanied her for more than 15 years.

In 2012, Ruth Michelle Beveridge wrote in her University of Saskatchewan thesis paper: “At the time of the interview, [Kab’nal] was under 24-hour accompaniment by Peace Brigades International due to the frequent death threats she receives from her advocacy to prevent mining concessions in her home community.”

In a December 21, 2022, interview with the Spanish magazine Pikara, Cabnal says: “It has been very important, as forms of protection for women from political risk, to be accompanied by Peace Brigades International, by Front Line Defenders and other international protection mechanisms.”

In that interview, Cabnal says: “All forms of extractivism against the land, hydroelectric plants, widespread monoculture, are forms of machismo against the land. Many of the citizens of the Spanish State do not know that their retirement money is being converted into money that they finance in countries like our great projects of death and serious violation of the rights of indigenous peoples to life.”

“We, as part of the Network of Healers, come from the history of criminalization, of political risk, for territorial defense. We bring a proposal that we call healing as a political cosmic path, that is, all the somatizations, the pains, the diseases that cross our body are concatenated with histories of oppression, and decoding them from our ancestral forms and practices is vital. We approach processes of recovery and emotional, physical, and spiritual sustainability of indigenous women affected by political risk who have been displaced from their territories, threatened with death, women who have arrest warrants.”

“Healing is far beyond seeing it only from a depoliticized or highly commodified self-care now, it transcends from self-care to a communal political healing, which sustains us.”

And when asked about what it is to be a human rights defender, she replies: “We like to name ourselves defenders of life, to vindicate the memory of women who opposed very ancestral patriarchal forms, because the concept of human rights has a very short, political and colonial temporality.”

To read the full interview with her, go to “Las indígenas estamos viviendo un entramado jodido de opresiones” (Indigenous women are living a fucked up web of oppressions).

PBI-Guatemala has accompanied TZK’AT Network of Ancestral Healers of Community Feminism from Iximulew since February 2018.

The Mayan K’iche’ name for Guatemala, Iximulew, means “land of corn.”

The video about TZK’AT produced for PBI-Guatemala can be seen here.