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Weaving a narrative

Are you one of the over 12 million people who have watched the AJ+ video about AFEDES’ court case to protect Mayan designs in Guatemala (below) and now you want to learn more?

Below are the articles and media we’ve collected that have been published in English about AFEDES‘ Guatemalan Supreme Court case and forthcoming bill before the Guatemalan Congress. (There are loads more in Spanish-speaking and Guatemala media! Have a look here, here, here and here for examples.)

But before you dig in, first read this statement written collectively by the women of AFEDES in August 2016 entitled, “Textiles are the books that the colony was not able to burn.

For media inquiries, contact Jennifer Lentfer, Director of Communications: jennifer (at) thousandcurrents.org


Carolina Herrera accused of cultural appropriation by the Mexican government, by Cheryl Santos in Vice i-D, 14 June 2019.

Is fashion a feminist issue? Interview with Swatee Deepak on the Talking Tastebuds podcast, 13 May 2019. (AFEDES mentioned around 40:00.)

Identity, Community, and Defiance, All Woven Into a Blouse, by Jenny Gustafsson in Atlas Obscura, 6 May 2019.

Pride and profit: Why Mayan weavers fight for intellectual property rights, by Whitney Eulich in Christian Science Monitor, 27 March 2019.

Weaving Recognition, by United Nations Human Rights Office, 25 January 2019.

Designs for life: the Guatemalan women fighting for rights to their textiles, by Catherine Hickey in Positive News, 4 December 2018.

The exploitation of Mayan women’s art is a story of racism, sexism – and global capitalism, by Aisling Walsh in OpenDemocracy, 9 August 2018.

How Mayan women in Guatemala are fighting to protect their designs – and their identity, by Aisling Walsh in OpenDemocracy, 8 August 2018.

Meet The Indigenous Guatemalan Woman Fighting For Artisans To Retain Ownership Of Their Designs, by Elizabeth Rose in GirlTalkHQ, 25 July 2018.

Intellectual Extractivism: The Dispossession of Maya Weaving, by Sunna Juhn and Emily Ratté in Intercontinental Cry, 11 July 2018.

Are Handicrafts Intellectual Property? These Guatemalan Women Think So. by Anna-Catherine Brigida in Bright Magazine, 18 May 2018.

Group Rights: Mayan women are pushing the envelope on collective intellectual property rights to safeguard their cultural heritage” by Claire Gilmore in the Watershed Sentinel, 26 March 2018.

Art as Territory: Mayan weavers advocate for collective intellectual property rights in Guatemala” by Claire Healy in The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, 22 March 2018.

Watch how these Mayan women are fighting for their rights and dignity” in We Are Mitú, 2 March 2018. 


Two-Headed Bird Lands in Guatemala’s Political Arena: Mayan Women Fight to Protect Their Textile Heritage” by Elizabeth Rose in Truthout, 11 December 2017.

After Years of Cultural Appropriation, Mayan Weavers Want Legal Protection for Their Heritage” by Ariana Crisafulli on GlobalVoices, 25 September 2017.

Indigenous Guatemalan Weavers Fighting Cultural & Corporate Appropriation Of Their Designs” in GirlTalkHQ, 3 August 2017.

These Guatemalan Weavers Are Sick of Being Copied by the Fashion Industry” in The Fashion Law, 20 July 2017.

Guatemala, Maya women fight to defend indigenous textiles from the fashion industry” by Natalia Koper in LifeGate, 4 July 2017.

Don’t Call Me María” by Elizabeth Rose in Revue

Part 1: 31 May 2017
Part 2 : 29 June 2017
Part 3: 28 July 2017

Mayan Weavers Seek Legal Protection of Their Designs” by Rick Kearns, in Indian Country Media Network, 11 June 2017. 

Mayan weavers are fighting back” in AJ+ (English), 14 May 2017. (To note: As of 4 August 2017, this video has over 8 million views, 257,751 shares in Spanish.)

Las tejedoras mayas se defienden” in AJ+ (Español), 14 April 2017. 

Trademark battle” by China Global Television Network, 16 March 2017.

Maya weavers propose a collective intellectual property law” by Manuela Picq, original translated by Daniel Dayley in Intercontinental Cry, 14 March 2017.

Guatemala: Foreign companies plagiarize Mayan ancestral designs” by Louisa Reynolds in Latinamerica Press / Noticias Aliadas, 15 December 2016.

These Mayan Weavers Could Be Paving the Way For Indigenous Communities to Trademark Their Work” by Yara Simón in Remezcla, 13 December 2016. 

Indigenous Weavers in Guatemala Mobilize to Defend Their Craft and Cultural Rights” by Jeff Abbott in Toward Freedom, 8 December 2016.

We resist through the art in our hands” on Thousand Currents blog, 15 November 2016.

Indigenous Women Fight to Protect Rights of Woven Guatemala Textile Design” by Alison Meares Cohen in EcoWatch, 16 August 2016.

Opposing Corporate Theft of Mayan Textiles, Weavers Appeal to Guatemala’s High Court” by Jeff Abbott in Truthout, 14 August 2016.

Indigenous Women Seek Legal Protection for Cultural Heritage” in TeleSUR, 29 June 2016.

AFEDES goes to Guatemala’s highest court” by Katherine Zavala on Thousand Currents blog, 27 June 2016.

By Jennifer Lentfer