Hamline News

Public Interest Law Community to host Mayan rights CLE

The Hamline Public Interest Law Community is pleased to welcome well-known land rights and indigenous rights advocate Cristina Coc to campus Tuesday, Oct. 30 to speak on her work advocating for the Mayan people in Belize, Central America.

The free presentation has been approved for one standard CLE credit and begins at 11:20 a.m. in Room 105 of the School of Law. Attendees should RSVP to Deb Lange and indicate attendance via live webcast or in person.

Coc has been the spokesperson for the Maya Leaders Alliance in Belize and is a co-founder of the Julian Cho Society, which advocates for Maya land rights. She was instrumental in land rights case pursued by the Maya people and argued before the Supreme Court of Belize several years ago. This summer, Coc was in Geneva to speak to the United Nations in regard to charges of human rights violations against the government of Belize.

The presentation is part of Maya Week, which is sponsored by BRIDGES, a newly formed nonprofit organization focused on a culture and education exchange with indigenous Mayan villages in Belize, Central America. Maya Week also includes presentations on the Mayan calendar at Hamline University’s Giddens Learning Center, Mayan land rights at Macalester College, and Mayan spirituality at United Theological Seminary Chapel.

Learn more:
Cristina Coc on Mayan Indigenous Rights in Belize

Cristina Coc Biography
Cristina Coc is the director and co-founder of the Julian Cho Society. She has been an activist for Maya Land Rights and forest conservation since 2003. She has worked directly over the last four years with the Maya villages of Toledo in southern Belize to mobilize for the campaign to secure indigenous land rights. As a Q'eqchi Maya woman, she has an intimate knowledge of the issues related to land use and social struggles of the Maya. Over the years she has built tremendous credibility through her community organizing, advocacy and leadership of the Land Rights Lawsuit before the Supreme Court of Belize for Conejo and Santa Cruz villages. She was elected by the traditional leaders, the Alcaldes of Toledo, to be part of the implementation team in this effort, with a mandate to represent the Maya through on-going negotiations with the Government of Belize. She is also presently co-spokesperson for the Maya Leaders Alliance.

About the Julian Cho Society
The Julian Cho Society is a non-governmental organization devoted to indigenous rights through research, education, and advocacy in southern Belize. It was founded in 2004 having emerged out of the movement for indigenous land rights. JCS is legally incorporated in Belize as an NGO and is governed by a seven-member Advisory Council. The Society is dedicated to increasing understanding of the history and indigenous cultures of the Toledo District of Belize. We aim to carry forward the legacy of Julian Armando Cho through programs that promote education, justice, and sustainable development.