Michael O'Hara Photography


(To view the version of this video with English subtitles, please see here: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelOHaraPhotography/videos/1607754582594429/

Don Reginaldo is one of the last native speakers of Maya Itzá. The language is past saving in its entirety, but through measures taken by Don Reginaldo and his organization Bio-Itzá, bits and pieces of the language and culture will be preserved and sustained for a few more generations at the very least. This is a portion of my interviews with Don Reginaldo, to deepen understanding and widen knowledge of the Itzá people and their language, both of which are rooted in the forest within which the Itzá have lived for millennia. Listen to and read the words of a native speaker of a language that in a decade may never again be heard spoken in conversation.

"Muy bien. Mi nombre es Reginaldo Chayax Huex, los ultimos itzajes de San José, Petén. Estamos aquí en el lugar de la Asociación Bio-Itzá con los hermanos que han venido ayer por la tarde en sus países. Las cosas va para abajo. Entonces ya tambien los ancianos ya se están muriendo y casi ya no hay. Solo quedamos como siete ancianos quedamos. La importancia y el sentimiento que uno tiene como Itzá que somos tener esa forma de ser indigena, no olvidar la cultura, no olvidar todo lo que nuestros abuelos, nuestras decendencias han estado con toda esta forma de vivir. Ellos sobrevivieron mucho tiempo con la naturaleza que tiene que ver mucho con todo lo que es la forma de ser un pueblo indigena."


"So. My name is Reginaldo Chayax Huex, one of the last of the Itzá of San José, Petén. We are here at the Association Bio-Itzá with our brothers and sisters who arrived from their countries yesterday evening. The situation is getting worse. Already the elders are dying and there are almost none of us left. Now, only seven of us remain. The importance of being and the feeling that we have as Itzá is a part of being indigenous; one must not forget the culture, one must not forget everything that our grandfathers and that our offspring have been and will be to embody this state of being. Our ancestors survived for such a long time alongside the natural environment that it must be related to this state of being an indigenous people."



Music: Sad Marimba Planet by Lee Rosevere. Provided by Free Music Archive.

This film fulfills a portion of our final project for our Environmental Studies Senior Seminar at Middlebury College. Our group of six--Anahí, Sophie, Lowry, Charlie, Henry, and Michael--interviewed several Vermont residents who are either living in or hope to live in a VERMOD-build Zero Energy Modular home. Our goal was to examine how the programs organized by Efficiency Vermont are being implemented and whether or not these programs are successful in making zero energy living affordable and accessible to low-income families in Vermont who might be living in energy poverty--defined by the Vermont Law School as paying 10% or more of one's household income on energy costs. Directly and indirectly, energy poverty in Vermont is responsible for causing more deaths due to winter weather than are killed in car crashes every year in the state. In this short film, we hope to tell the stories of what "home" means, why sustainability is important to families and individuals, and of both success and shortcomings in Efficiency Vermont's programs that seek to make sturdy, efficient, zero energy homes accessible to energy-poor communities in Vermont.

This is a short film about Doug Butler, a Vermont dairy farmer and dogsled racer, co-created by Joe Lovelace and Michael O'Hara to fulfill the final project requirement for Adventure Writing and Digital Storytelling taught by Peter Lourie.

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