About The Author
Photojournalist and author John Annerino has been working in the frontier of Old Mexico and the American West for more than twenty years, documenting its indigenous people, natural beauty and political upheaval. Represented by TimePix and Gamma Liaison, Annerino's credits include Life,, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, Scientific American, and many publications worldwide. The author of nine books, his recent works include The Wild Country of Mexico (Sierra Club Books), Dead in Their Tracks: America's Desert Borderlands (Four Walls Eight Windows), and Canyons of the Southwest(University of Arizona Press 2000). He is currently working on a book called
American Cave Dwellers.

Janurary 17, 2001

People On The Edge
Maya of Yucatán and Chiapas
Photo Essay & Reporting by John Annerino

"We brought out our guns and made indiscriminate war. One monster, twenty–five or thirty feet long , lay on the arm of a gigantic tree –but the whole of the alligator was visible. I hit him just under the white line; he fell off, and with a tremendous convulsion, reddening the water with a circle of blood, turned over on his back, dead."
John L. Stephens, 1841
Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatán

Suguaro Cactus

In the somber afternoon light of the selva, men emerge from shadows. A rolling bank of storm clouds heralds rain and perhaps appeasement for the nucuch–chacob, "powerful gods." But rusty single–barrel shotguns lashed to battered bicycles and burlap sacks stuffed with the furred and feathered carcasses of small birds and animals tell another story. These desperate Yucatec Maya hunters have been stalking the jungles of Yucatán for sian ka'an, "everything that was born under the sky," before the jungle life closes forever on one of Mexico's greatest peoples.

The arrival of Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortes in the port city of Veracruz in 1519, and his ruthless matanza (slaughter) of the Aztec civilization two years later, had a