WATCH: Maya Land Rights and Governance

On November 5th, 2014, Cristina Coc and Pablo Miss visited the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives to discuss their advocacy efforts for Maya land rights in Belize.

Cristina Coc serves as appointed spokesperson for the Maya Leaders Alliance and the Toledo Alcaldes Association. Coc is also co-founder of the Julian Cho Society. The JCS advocates for Maya land rights through the Belize court system and international fora, such as the United Nations. Since 2006, Coc and other Maya leaders, including Pablo Miss, have worked closely with the University of Arizona Indigenous People’s Law & Policy Program to develop strategies to test legal orders, negotiate with the Government of Belize, and build capacity among Maya communities

Pablo Miss is a Maya Q’eqchi’ from southern Belize, Central America. Over the last decade he has worked directly to support the Toledo Alcaldes Association (TAA) on a broad scope of governance related matters. The TAA is the assembly of traditional leaders and the highest authority for decision making for the 39 Maya villages of southern Belize. Since 2009 he has served as Program Coordinator for the Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA) a coalition of Maya community based organizations that advocates on behalf of the Maya people. Pablo Miss holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. He is in the process of completing his Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance at the Indigenous Governance Program of the University of Victoria, Canada for which he is conducting a community governance project through the Toledo Alcaldes Association.