Roderico Tani, Maya-Q’eqchi Traditional Elder (Guatemala)

Roderico Tani is a sincere and generous man of knowledge and a Maya Calendar priest. He has for many years been an ambassador of the Q’eqchi Maya tradition to the Mohawk people. Trained in the calendar system and ceremonies by his parents and community elders, Roderico has been a practicing Maya Calendar ceremonialist since his thirties. He holds the ancestral ways of carrying and interpreting the Mayan sacred calendar system, a teaching transmitted over centuries and surviving European invasion. In the Mayan Ways, every day has an energy and meaning that can guide our lives. The day of our birth shapes each of us. As a calendar priest, he is charges with giving particular attention to the home hearth, assisting women midwives in matters of fertility, protection, dream signaling, interpretation, and timely reading of elements and forces. In this manner, Roderico has become an important brother spirit who has been instrumental in the restoration of an Indigenous midwifery practice and a partner in many experiences in community revitalization and leadership development. “Like a snowflake, like a fingerprint, like a dream, like a ceremony, each birth has its own interpretation,” Roderico instructs. Roderico has been a teacher and path companion to our people and my family for 40 years. Since the terribly repressive time of the 1980s, when the Maya of Guatemala endured a violent campaign of genocide, Roderico has been a constant connection and source of reaffirmation from Meso-America for the Mohawk community and other northern tribal and First Nations. In 1982, as an emissary of a large circle of elders, he represented the Maya Q’eqchi to our traditional! councils, including at the Haudenosaune Confederacy Grand Council, where he received strong affirmation and support. He was also deeply involved in the defense of his people, undertaking numerous missions for his elders. During the war, he assisted the physical survival of numerous Maya youth targeted for repression. After the peace accords of 1992, he was quietly instrumental in ushering to his traditional communities in Guatemala substantial networks of moral, economic, and political allies and resources. From his first visit at Akwesasne Mohawk Nation in 1981, don Roderico was invited by traditional elders to assist them in spiritual matters of mutual concern. These deep ceremonies generated relationships, and collaborative community projects over two generations. Through the many years,he has been received in the peyote way by our Akwesasne Tipi Society, as well as invited by elders of the American Horse-Afraid of Bear Sundance, to dance at their annual ceremonial gathering, held in the Black Hills. Other northern nations have intersected with don Roderico and received his visits as well.