So if you live in the United States, or know anything about our politics, you may get an awkward chuckle out of this.

Next week, President Bush will be visiting a sacred Mayan archaeological site. He’s actually gonna be visiting Iximche on the high western plateau in a region of Guatemala which is currently populated mostly by Mayans. Iximche is about 30 miles west of the capital of Guatemala City. It was founded as the capital of the Kaqchiqueles kingdom before the Spanish conquest in 1524.

Mayan Ceremony in IximcheAfter his visit, according to the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization, Juan Tiney, with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders,

“the “spirit guides of the Mayan community ” decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of “bad spirits ” after Bush’s visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites — which entail chanting and burning incense, herbs and candle. “

They’ll be doing something similar to what you see in the image to the right.

And, he will be followed by protests, of course. This is very embarrassing but also interesting news because it documents the intersection of politics, archaeology, and cultural issues. I find it particularly interesting that a ritual that has been used for thousands of years is being used in a modern socio-poltiical context.

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