Indigenous peoples of the americas: maya cultures across time

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Yale Peabody Museum-PIER-CLAIS 2012 Summer Institute for High School Teachers,

Yale University, New Haven, CT, July 9-13, 2012

Cultural Heritage: Traditional Mexican Cuisine Across Time
textile cooperative in zinacantan.jpg

San Lorenzo Zinacantán, Chiapas, MX 2012

Cultural Heritage Traditional Mexican Cuisine Across Time
Introduction pages 6-28
1Cultural Heritage pages
Activity1 Defining Cultural Identity and Cultural Heritage
Activity2 Identifying Traditional Cultural Heritage: Focus on Food

Lesson 1 -1 Cultural Identity-Cultural Heritage Organizer
Lesson 1 -1Spanish- Identidad cultural-hoja de organización
Lesson 1 -2 UNESCO Traditional Mexican Cuisine Video Questions
Lesson 1 -2 Spanish- UNESCO Traditional Mexican Cuisine Video-preguntas
Lesson 1 -3 Moctezuma's Dinner
Lesson 1 -4 Cumbia del Mole Lyrics
Lesson 1 -5 El Palomo del Comalito – Lila Downs lyrics
Lesson 1 -6 Kinto Sol Los Hijos de Maiz
Lesson 1 -7 Somos Hijos de Maiz Lyrics
Lesson 1 -8 Poem El Maíz-Gasparo Pedro Gonzalez

Lesson 2 Using Ancient Maya Artifacts to Learn About Indigenous Contributions to Mexican Cuisine 29-45

Activity1 Small Group Analysis of Maya Vase
Activity 2 Field Trip to Yale University Art Gallery Ancient Americas Collection
Activity 3 Web Based Search for Images

Lesson 2 -1 Guided Observation and Object Based Learning Strategies
Lesson 2 -2 Museum Activity Sheet
Lesson 2 -2 Sp. Museum Activity Sheet

Lesson 3 Tracing Mexican Cuisine During the Colonial Period 46-49
Activity 1 On-line Collections of Colonial Documents
Activity 2
Presenting Colonial Documents Using 21st Century Technology Tools

Lesson 4 Threats to Traditional Mexican Cuisine 50-55
Activity 1
Genetically Modified Foods and NAFTA
Activity 2
Street Art and Contemporary Expression
Activity 3
Food Sovereignty Tour to Chiapas

Special Resources 56-57
Technology Tools 58-59
Vocabulary 60-63

Cultural Heritage: Traditional Mexican Cuisine Across Time

Name: Elise Weisenbach
School: Branford High School (
Subject Area: Art, Social Studies, Spanish
Grade Level(s): 11-12
Number of Lessons in the Unit: 4
Time Frame to Allow for Unit: 3-4weeks
Unit Description: In 2010Traditional Mexican Cuisine was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Intangible cultural heritage represents inherited traditions from the past as well as contemporary practices. In this unit students will learn about the cultural importance of Mexican cuisine across time by studying Pre-columbian Maya artifacts, colonial codices, contemporary posters, street art and other primary sources. Indigenous ethnic diversity, combined with the infusion of Old World foods upon the arrival of the Europeans in the 16th century, has created a cuisine worthy of a place on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This unit is in English for use in Art or Social Studies classes and can be adapted to the proficiency level of the Spanish language learners. Many of the online sources recommended in this unit are available in English and Spanish.

Students will discuss the importance of traditional Mexican cuisine across time as
depicted in Pre-columbian artifacts, colonial documents and contemporary arts.

Students will write an essay explaining the significance of the National Day of Corn and the

expression “Sin Maíz No Hay País”.

Students will debate the positive and negative impact of NAFTA and Genetically Modified corn

on Mexican culture.
Essential Questions

How can we understand the cultural characteristics of ancient civilizations by studying artifacts

in museum collections?

How can we use virtual archives and databases to locate images of Mexican cuisine across time?

How can an interpretation of the past help us examine and understand the present?

What are the factors that threaten our cultural heritage?

How do people preserve their most important customs and values?

Note to Teachers
Preparation for teaching this unit on Cultural Heritage: Traditional Mexican Cuisine Across Time should include a review of Mexican ethnic diversity, indigenous foods and the impact of the Spanish Conquest on the Americas. The PBS production, When Worlds Collide: The Untold Story of the Americas After Columbus, funded by The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Delux Corporation, and Tour España, traces the impact of the Conquest on the Americas as well as American influences on Europe. The video gives an overview of early New World Civilizations. It explores identity, ethnicity and also foods native to the Americas and those introduced by the Europeans. The video is an excellent new look at the Old World and the New for teachers and students. Byker, Carl. When Worlds Collide:The Untold Story of the Americas After Columbus. b:t

Other sites for background on the diversity of the indigenous populations of the Americas are:
Native Languages of the Americas: Preserving and Promoting American Indian Languages In addition to information on language, it
features a history and culture link.

Mexconnect, an electronic magazine with articles on indigenous peoples, ethnic diversity and
traditional food.

Mexican cuisine has evolved over thousands of years and reflects the influence of diverse indigenous traditions, which have blended with European foods creating unique flavors. Useful sources include:

Barros, Christina. "Cocina Prehispanica Recetario." Edicion Especial Arqueologia
 Nov. 2002: n. pag. Web.
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