Changes in Indigenous Livelihoods in Aguacate, Belize

Authors: Patrick Cleary*, , Joel Wainwright, The Ohio State University, Kareem Usher, The Ohio State University
Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Latin America, Rural Geography
Keywords: Belize, Indigenous, Food Security, Maya
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Maryland C, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In recent years, geographers have studied the complex social, environmental, and economic transformations of the Belizean Maya livelihoods resulting from the historical legacies of British and Spanish colonization and the consolidation of capitalist social relations. However, little work has been done to investigate how the pathways by which indigenous Maya households procure food are being transformed. This paper examines changes in indigenous livelihoods over time, drawing upon results of household food surveys in Aguacate, Belize taken in 1979 and 2019 and interviews with elders about changes in the food system. We hypothesize that the principal changes are increased consumption of purchased food, a decrease in the percentage of maize in the diet, an increase in the consumption of meat, and an increase in food produced monoculturally. Our findings (due prior to the 2019 meeting) aim to contribute to the fast-growing field of indigenous food studies and provide a key to understanding the changes taking place within the household, the center of social and economic life in Maya villages.

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