The Pueblo Maho Cultural Association aims to create a Canarian network of groups to raise awareness and respect for the islands’ archaeological heritage and remains
Founded in 2016 in Lanzarote, Pueblo Maho is a cultural association aimed at promoting the island’s rich archaeological and ethnographic heritage. Orlando Hernández, the group’s spokesman, told us that, ‘In addition to monitoring and reporting acts of vandalism, we focus on raising awareness… on promoting a sense of curiosity about where we come from; who the Mahos, our ancestors, were; what they did, how they lived, their language, their writing, and their legacy passed down to us. If you are aware of something, that knowledge is the first step towards respect, care, and protection, and it’s also how identity is built.’
‘We have given several talks in schools and secondary schools. We also do weekend hikes with children from five to seven years old together with their parents, and both adults and kids absolutely love it. We take them to archaeological remains, like ancient carvings, writing, podomorphic rock engravings in the shape of feet, rudimentary lithophones, or rock gongs, and ‘Quesera’ lunisolar calendars. The children lap it up like sponges! By educating and informing them, the hope is that they will value what they have learnt and want to preserve it. If they understand the value of the remains, they’re more likely to protect them and will be more inclined to report it if they see others doing any damage.’
The Association worked closely with archaeologist Nona Perera on the book ‘The Writings of the Maho People’ (Las Escrituras del Pueblo Maho); it has taught traditional whistling, or silbo classes; and is working on recovering pre-Hispanic Canarian words, many of which are Guanche and Canari in origin. Lanzarote is rich in Guanche toponyms. For example, many place names that begin with ‘T’, as in Tinamala, Tinaguache, Teguise or the syllable ‘ti’, from Tinajo, mean ‘place of,’ Orlando explained.
‘The work Pueblo Maho is doing in educating and raising awareness has brought us together with similar collectives on other islands, such as El Efequén, in Fuerteventura, and we aim to create a network of associations that share common interests and objectives. Right now, we’re working on organising a project that enables us to work together and make strides for the benefit of all.’