K'iche' - Orientation

The K'iche' are one of the largest surviving Maya groups. They live in the midwestern highlands of Guatemala. Specifically, they inhabit the departments of Huehuetenango, Chimaltenango, Quezaltenango, Totonicapán, Quiché, Baja Verapaz, Retalhuleu, Suchitepéquez, Sololá, and Escuintla. The cities of Chichicastenango and Momostenango are especially well known because of ethnographic studies condueted by Ruth Bunzel (1952) and Barbara Tedlock (1982).

There are about 750,000 K'iche' Indians living in Guatemala today. The K'iche' language is still widely used among contemporary Indian populations. It is classified within the Kichean Branch of the Macro-Mayan Language Family.

The geography of the region is unusually rugged. The terrain is marked by a multitude of volcanoes and rocky formations. The largest inland body of water in the region is Lake Atitlán.

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