“But the minds of those who live in the capital or in the plantations become numb and eventually corrupted. Then they quickly become uprooted, forgetting their own traditions, and feeling completely lost. Most of the time they end up drowning their sorrows in alcohol.”—José to Paul, page 66, “Blood for Freedom.”
During their trek, José tells Paul that as a Shaman’s apprentice, he also considers himself a guardian of the culture. He wants to help his people stay connected to their roots, but to do that, he must learn to decipher the signs of their time, guided by the rules of Ancient Mayan history.
In this quote, he talks about the current problem of his fellow people. Economic hardship often forces people to take up jobs that require constant work with little pay. This situation deprives them of being able to go back to their village and partake in their way of life.
This problem is not at all unique to the natives in my story. In fact, many people who have chosen to immigrate to other countries for greener pastures often feel detached from their place of birth—geographically and, eventually, subconsciously.
While it’s important to accept new cultures and adhere to the rules and norms of your hosts, it is also equally essential to preserve your cultural heritage. While we are all individuals, we are also part of a greater unity—a culture of people with their own history, traditions, and ways of life. To deprive human beings of being able to connect them to their roots is to deny them of learning their own history—rendering them lost and confused in this troubled world.
That being said, I urge readers to look into their family tree. Try to see how your elders and older family members lived their lives back then. While modern society has embraced diversity, it is still different from connecting to our own cultural roots in a personal manner. When we do this, we rediscover our own personal history. It also allows us to reconcile our past with a promise of a brighter future.
by J. P. Piché