The Mayans Among Us


The Mayans Among Us

Migrant Women and Meatpacking on the Great Plains

Ann L. Sittig and Martha Florinda González

216 pages
31 photographs, 2 maps, glossary, index


March 2016


$29.95 Add to Cart

November 2018


$17.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

March 2016


$17.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

March 2016


$17.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The Mayans Among Us conveys the unique experiences of Central American indigenous immigrants to the Great Plains, many of whom are political refugees from repressive, war-torn countries. Ann L. Sittig, a Spanish instructor, and Martha Florinda González, a Mayan community leader living in Nebraska, have gathered the oral histories of contemporary Mayan women living in the state and working in meatpacking plants. Sittig and González initiated group dialogues with Mayan women about the psychological, sociological, and economic wounds left by war, poverty, immigration, and residence in a new country. Distinct from Latin America’s economic immigrants and often overlooked in media coverage of Latino and Latina migration to the plains, the Mayans share their concerns and hopes as they negotiate their new home, culture, language, and life in Nebraska. Longtime Nebraskans share their perspectives on the immigrants as well.

The Mayans Among Us poignantly explores how Mayan women in rural Nebraska meatpacking plants weave together their three distinct identities: Mayan, Central American, and American.

Author Bio

Ann L. Sittig is a tenured Spanish instructor at Shasta College in Redding, California. Martha Florinda González emigrated from Guatemala to Nebraska and is a community leader in Nebraska. She has served as a member of the Coordinating Commission for Indigenous Women and the Technical Commission for Negotiations, and on the Commission for Women in Guatemala.


"[The Mayans Among Us] is an essential read to understand modern Mayan women and issues they face. All students and experts of Latin America and Mayan civilization must read it."—Washington Book Review

"The Mayans Among Us gives us a rare look at a Latinx subculture that often goes unnoticed in the mainstream media—the Mayans of Central America—in a place that very few people talk about—the Midwest."—Valerie Mendoza, Middle West Review

“This book makes for a fascinating read. Sittig and González help us understand the points of view of an almost invisible population. The stories of the Mayans, huge and heartbreaking stories, increase our moral imaginations. I wish this were required reading for all our politicians and policy makers. I recommend it to all who yearn to understand the America we live in today.”—Mary Pipher, author of The Middle of Everywhere: Helping Refugees Enter the American Community 

“Ann L. Sittig and Martha Florinda González offer an instructive and significant depiction of the changes of work, religion, place, and life in small-town Nebraska.”—Elaine Carey, associate professor of history at St. John’s University and author of Women Drug Traffickers: Mules, Bosses, and Organized Crime

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
1. Guatemala: Life before Emigration
2. Guatemalan Civil War and Postwar Rebuilding
3. The Journey to El Norte
4. Religious Practice and Community Life in Nebraska
5. Mayans and Meatpacking in Nebraska

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