COMUNIDAD MAYA PIXAN IXIM: REINFORCING OUR ROOTS LIVING OUR MAYA HERITAGE

Reinforcing our Roots, Living our Maya Heritage

Omaha, NE   |  www.pixanixim.org

Mission

To improve the health and well-being of Mayan people through community development strategies in Omaha, Nebraska and Q'anjob'al Maya territory consistent with the Q'anjob'al Maya system of social organization and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Ruling year info

2012

Executive Director

Luis Marcos

Program Director

Lucia Francisco

Main address

4913 S. 25th Street, Suite 1

Omaha, NE 68107 USA

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EIN

45-5539560

NTEE code info

Immigrants' Rights (R21)

Youth Centers, Clubs, (includes Boys/Girls Clubs)- Multipurpose (O20)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Maya is a displaced indigenous people in the US that has lived through cycles of violence and displacement for 500 years. Historical trauma, language barriers, lack of access to land and immigration status have kept many of the estimated 8,000 Maya people in Nebraska in economic poverty leading to poor health and restricted access to healthy food. Lack of access to land has also left those in the US disconnected from their culture and spirituality. There has been no justice for genocide and other crimes committed against Akateko, Chuj, Popti and Q’anjob’al people during Guatemala’s internal armed conflict. And genocide against Maya people continues today. Entire communities are displaced and Maya people suffer extermination, exclusion and forced assimilation at the hands of the states occupying Maya land. This forces people to make the excruciating decision to stay in danger or risk their lives to travel to the US where restrictions to asylum leave them with few options.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Maya Health Initiative

The mission of this initiative is to promote health and prevent illness for the Q’anjob’al Maya people in Nebraska and Q’anjob’al Maya territory in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Consistent with the declaration, we incorporate Maya medicine alongside Western medicine into all of our health programs, listed below, in Nebraska and in our homeland. We have also held events at our Maya community center for people to learn about Maya midwives, herbalism and other healing practices.

Projects

1) Maya Health Assessment Study: Conducted for the first time from 2017-2019, this study is a tool to understand the health status of the Maya community in Omaha, Nebraska. The understanding it provides positions us to implement evidence-based health promotion and health intervention programs that will improve the health, access to healthcare and the general well-being of Maya people. We hope to conduct this study on a continual basis in order to keep learning about the state of health and the impact of our programs in the Maya community.

2) Monthly Health Promotion: Meeting once a month, this initiative is a bi-lateral learning program. Maya community members share Maya history, worldview, spirituality, culture, and medicine. In turn, the Maya Community Health Collaborative, a Creighton University School of Medicine student organization, shares with the Maya community their knowledge of physical health, mental health and healthy living based on their training in Western medicine.

3) Yearly Indigenous Peoples Health Fair: For the last five years, this event has brought together Creighton University medical students and faculty and members of the Maya community to provide basic health care and health screenings to indigenous peoples and educate healthcare professionals about the presence of indigenous peoples, including Maya, in urban areas.

4) Maya Health Project in Maya Territory: Since 2015, students from the Creighton University School of Medicine CURA Project, in collaboration with the Q’anjob’al Maya Government and Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim, have visited Maya territory annually to provide medical care to communities there. We are currently analyzing how to continue with this project in the time of COVID-19 and also working to activate two community health centers in Q’anjob’al Maya territory that currently lack health providers.

Future:
We are hoping to expand our work in Maya Territory by hiring a full-time medical doctor of Maya origin to work with Maya health practitioners in Maya territory to provide health services through telehealth. CMPI would also use their existing relationships in Nebraska to recruit medical students, professors and doctors to contribute to these telehealth services from the United States.

Population(s) Served

The mission of this program is to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in collaboration with academic institutions, indigenous peoples governments and contemporary states governments.
Projects

1) International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples:
We regularly organize conferences in Omaha, Nebraska to commemorate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. These conferences bring together indigenous and non-indigenous academics, spiritual leaders, healers, students and other community members to discuss how to advance the rights of indigenous peoples, foster collaborative relationships and celebrate Maya and other indigenous cultures.

2) Asylum Support: We frequently provide expert witness testimony to Maya community members seeking asylum in the United States. These testimonies and other legal support we provide have prevented the deportations of several members of our community and helped many gain legal status within the United States.

3) Indigenous Nation to Nation Relationship Building: We have connected and continue to foster diplomatic and collaborative relationships between the traditional ancestral government of the Akateko, Chuj, Popti and Q’anjob’al Maya people with the American Indian Omaha Nation. This nation to nation relationship is grounded in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Article 36.

4) Maya and Omaha Indigenous Nations Summit: In September of 2018, leaders of the Omaha Nation traveled to Maya territory for a historic summit between indigenous governments. Their objectives were to commemorate and spread awareness of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; witness the ceremonial visits of elders of the Q’anjob’al Maya government to sacred sites; continue to mark Maya territory by visiting, praying at and consulting sacred sites on the future of the Q’anjob’al Maya Nation; and further intergovernmental dialogue on how to implement indigenous peoples’ human rights for the benefit of the Q’anjob’al Maya on Omaha Nations Territory with emphasis on immigration and economic development programs.
Future

We are seeking funding to establish a transnational collective legal defense strategy for Maya people in our traditional homeland and in the United States. This would allow us to:

1) Provide legal defense for Maya people criminalized in Maya territory for their defense of land, territory, sovereignty and natural resources.

2) Bring to justice the state of Guatemala for committing genocide and other crimes against the Akateko, Chuj, Popti and Q’anjob’al people during the internal armed conflict and seek legally binding agreements on collective compensation for victims in our traditional homeland and the US.

3) Provide legal representation, documentation and collective litigation to support Akateko, Chuj, Popti and Q’anjob’al people seeking asylum in the US.

Population(s) Served

The mission of this program is to heal historical trauma and revive the Maya civilization through the arts.

The program consists of celebrations according to the Sacred Maya Calendar and other arts projects that incorporate Maya culture, history and worldview. These include Maya music, performance and visual arts based on the Maya sacred book the Popol Vuh, as well as Maya cuisine.

In 2019, Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim, with the help of A Midsummer Mural company and many others from the Omaha community, designed and painted a mural representing the Mayan peoples of Omaha. This mural is part of the South Omaha Mural Project and was created with funding from the State of Nebraska.

Population(s) Served

The mission of this initiative is to educate Maya adults and youth in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Projects

1) Maya Youth Mentoring Program : This program is designed to promote higher education among the Maya youth in Omaha Public Schools who will be the first of their families to attend college. This program meets on a biweekly basis and is implemented in collaboration with the Maya Community Health Collaborative, a student organization of Creighton University’s School of Medicine.

2) Maya Academic Achievement Council: This council operates under the Native Indigenous Centered Education of the Omaha Public Schools (OPS) and in collaboration with OPS’s Office of Equity and Diversity. The council assists OPS in reviewing curriculum, improving communication between OPS and the Maya community, celebrating Maya culture within OPS, and improving school attendance and academic achievement for Maya youth.

3) Basic Adult Education Program: The mission of this program is to equip adult members of the Maya community with the skills they need to find employment. This program includes drivers education courses, English as a second language classes, and basic computer classes.

Population(s) Served

The mission of this project is to anchor the Q’anjob’al community’s ancient relationship with the land, create employment, build collective wealth, ensure access to healthy food, restore traditions and culture, and support holistic physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

In order to achieve this mission we hope to establish a profitable regenerative poultry, agroforestry, and value-added farm operation on 400-600 acres of land within 60 miles of Omaha.

The Q’anjob’al Maya people possess profound wisdom and agricultural knowledge and have forged meaningful connections with other indigenous groups in Nebraska. But we are also a displaced indigenous people, and many of us live in economic poverty. We propose combining this indigenous wisdom and knowledge with recent advancements in regenerative agriculture to create a food production system that will provide healthy, local food, lift Maya people out of poverty in Nebraska in our traditional homeland, and contribute to broad economic development.

In the meantime, we have built a community garden at our Maya Community Center in South Omaha. After a blessing ceremony led by Maya spiritual leaders, we planted the garden with seeds from Sacred Seed. With this garden we will teach the community regenerative agriculture techniques and help them access healthy, local food in this time of crisis.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of volunteer health care providers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of adults who received their General Education Diploma

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of adults who received their drivers license

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of youth mentored

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We seek to improve the health and well-being of Maya people in Nebraska and Q’anjob’al Maya territory consistent with the Q’anjob’al Maya system of social organization and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Deep in our collective memory is the reality that the Maya is one of the most sophisticated civilizations humanity has seen. From that understanding our mission is to rebuild our communities for our own well-being and that of humanity.

Through our health program, we aim to improve the health, access to healthcare and the general well-being of the Maya community. We hope to educate healthcare students and professionals about the presence of Maya and other indigenous peoples in urban areas and about Maya health care practices, and help practitioners of Maya healing be able to practice openly.

Through our arts and culture program we seek to heal historic trauma, reduce acculturative stress and improve mental health in the Maya community by helping Maya people connect with and find pride in their identity and culture. We also aim to share this culture and art with the non-Maya community.

Through our education program, we seek to help Maya youth access education that is culturally sensitive and graduate from highschool and college at higher rates, equipping them to serve their communities. We aim to help Maya adults learn the skills they need to access employment and other economic opportunities. We hope to educate non-Maya people about the spiritual, cultural and political aspects of Maya identity.

With our regenerative agriculture program, we seek to provide healthy, sustainably produced food and lift Maya people out of poverty in Nebraska and in our traditional homeland by creating employment and building collective wealth. In addition, the project will anchor the Maya community’s ancient relationship with the land, support the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of Maya people, and contribute to healing historical trauma while providing infrastructure for the recuperation of indigenous ways, knowledge, wisdom and identity.

With our human rights program we seek to bring justice to Akateko, Chuj, Popti and Q’anjob’al people for genocide and other crimes in order to prevent a repeat of these atrocities. We also want indigenous rights defenders to be able to continue their struggles in defense of indigenous people and our mother earth. With this, we hope Maya people in Guatemala gain the physical integrity and safety to protect our communities, our territories and ultimately to be able to safely stay in our homelands.

We also aim to help Maya people in the US gain legal status in order to live free of the fear of militarized immigration enforcement and deportation and be able to take higher paying jobs, have greater access to governmental services and higher education and own homes and businesses, all leading to greater economic security and prosperity.

In the area of health, we carry out a Maya Health Assessment Study to understand the health status of the Maya community in Omaha, NE and be able to implement evidence based health programs. We also hold a yearly health fair where Maya and non-Maya people are invited to get basic check ups and care from Creighton University medical students and faculty and Maya health practitioners. We also coordinate the Maya Community Health Collaborative where medical students and the Maya community share their knowledge of physical and mental health and healthy living.

Under our Maya Arts and Culture program we organize celebrations of Maya culture according to the sacred Maya calendar. These festivities include Maya music, performances based on the sacred Maya text, the Popul Vuh, and Maya cuisine

In the area of education, we have a youth mentoring program where Creighton University students mentor Maya youth who would be first generation college students and also collaborate with the Omaha Public School system to review the schools’ curriculum, facilitate communication between schools and the Maya community and celebrate Maya holidays in schools. We also offer adult education including drivers education, computer classes and English as a Second Language, as well as a leadership development program that helps Maya adults through a process of mind and heart deprogramming and decolonization.

In the area of human rights, In Guatemala we hope to provide legal defense for Maya people criminalized for defense of land, territory, sovereignty and natural resources and bring suits against the state of Guatemala in Guatemalan and international courts for committing genocide and other crimes against the Akateko, Chuj, Popti and Q’anjob’al people. In the US we hope to provide legal representation, documentation and collective litigation to support Akateko, Chuj, Popti and Q’anjob’al people seeking asylum.

Finally, we are working toward purchasing 400-600 acres of fertile land within a 60-mile radius of Omaha, NE to create a farm that combines Maya wisdom with regenerative agriculture techniques. This farm operation would be managed and controlled under a collective system yet operated as a competitive business. It would include an integrated value-added processing center for eggs, broilers, vegetables and selected nuts and fruits, agroforestry-centered grain production, and aggregation, processing and distribution of feeds and whole grains.

Operating with the support of elders of the Omaha Nation, we would combine the wisdom of the Maya people accumulated over centuries working the land with 21st century advancements in regenerative agriculture to create a farm that is sustainable and profitable. Profits would be invested in community economic development projects, support similar projects in other Mayan communities in the US and our homeland, and be distributed to the Akateko, Chuj, Popti and Q’anjob’al governments.

According to our bylaws, our board always has a majority of Maya people, but it also includes non-Maya people who contribute their expertise. It currently includes practitioners of Maya and western medicine, Maya and non-Maya academics, immigration attorneys, artists and experts in regenerative and Maya agricultural practices. This diverse board lends us the knowledge and experience to carry out programs in a broad range of areas.

Our programs are able to reach the Maya community because they come from the Maya community. Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim was created by the Maya community in Nebraska and now coordinates closely with Maya governments in our homeland. In this way, we ensure that our programming addresses the needs of Maya people and that we are offering services that will benefit the community.

Each of our programs is designed and carried out by experts from within and without the Maya community. Our volunteers include Maya people with cultural competency, knowledge of the Maya community and the language abilities. They also include university students, faculty and academics in the areas of medicine and social sciences, farmers and spiritual leaders

Much of our ability to carry out a broad range of effective programming comes from our constant collaboration with other institutions and groups. We collaborate with local organizations including Sacred Seeds, No Empty Pots, ReGenerate Nebraska, the Immigrant Legal Center, Heartland Workers Center, academic institutions including Creighton University School of Medicine, Creighton University Department of Cultural and Social Studies, Omaha Public Schools, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health and its Center for Reducing Health Disparities and indigenous councils and governments in Nebraska and in traditional Maya territory.

We also pull much of our abilities from our memberships in various groups including the Non-profit Association of the Midlands and the Nebraska Civic Engagement Table. These groups provide ongoing capacity building for organizational infrastructure, civic engagement, mentoring in leadership, and strategic planning and n on-profit best practices.

When we began our work in 2007, most Maya people in Nebraska were either unaware of or hid their Maya identity out of fear and shame. Maya people in our homeland lived through horrific violence and persecution and still faced discrimination and ridicule there and in the US. Because of our program, many Maya people have reconnected with their culture and traditions and show off their Maya identity through the arts, language, medicine, spiritual practices and celebrations with pride.

Our Maya Health Fair has helped approximately 600 people access basic health care over the five years we have held it and about 40 medical students each year have gained greater cultural competency and crucial medical experience. During the COVID-19 crisis, we have also provided interpretation and accompaniment to Maya people in the Omaha, NE area connecting them to health care and other services. In addition, we have distributed educational materials in Maya languages about COVID-19 and how people can protect themselves.

Through our adult education programs approximately 300 adults have learned skills such as basic computing and English language. We have helped 20 of those get their driver's license and six get their General Education Diploma.

About 50 youth have received mentoring through our Maya Youth Mentoring Program which has significantly increased the graduation rates for these young people, both from high school and from college. Some youth reported that they had never considered college before entering the program, but because of the program they chose to go on to higher education and successfully graduated.

Our efforts have also helped 10 community members avoid deportation away from their families and communities and for many of them achieve a status that gives them greater security in the US.

This year and in coming years, we will continue to provide monthly and annual health programming as well as educational materials and interpretation. We will also continue our adult and youth mentoring and educational programs.

We plan to significantly expand our work in the areas of human rights and regenerative agriculture. Within two years, we hope to purchase 400-600 acres of land near Omaha, NE and launch a farm with food processing using regenerative agricultural techniques. In the meantime, we are launching a community garden at our Maya community center to teach these techniques and connect the Maya community to local, regenerative agriculture.

Within our human rights program, we will provide legal defense for indigenous rights defenders in our homeland, develop a strategy of collective legal defense for Q’anjob’al Maya people in the US to protect them from deportation, and hope to find a way to hold the Guatemalan State accountable for genocide and other crimes committed against Akateko, Chuj, Popti and Q’anjob’al people by bringing charges in Guatemalan courts and petitioning international bodies.

Financials

COMUNIDAD MAYA PIXAN IXIM: REINFORCING OUR ROOTS LIVING OUR MAYA HERITAGE
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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COMUNIDAD MAYA PIXAN IXIM: REINFORCING OUR ROOTS LIVING OUR MAYA HERITAGE

Board of directors
as of 9/11/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mrs. Maria Gaspar

Q'anjob'al Maya Nation

Term: 2016 - 2023


Board co-chair

Mrs. Ellen Struve

Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim: Reinforcing Our Roots, Living our Maya Heritage

Term: 2019 - 2023

Rolando Lorenzo-Nicolas

Q'anjob'al Maya Nation

John Stone

Creighton University

Lorenzo Lucas

Q'anjob'al Maya Nation

Athena Ramos

University of Nebraska Medical Center

Lorenzo Marcos

Q'anjob'al Maya Nation

Eulalia Pedro

Q'anjob'al Maya Nation

Reginaldo Marroquin

Regeneration Alliance

Caya Simonsen

Harvard University

Adaluz Garcia-Pedro

Maya Nation

Darlyn Juan

Maya Nation

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No