1) "My mother had a custom of taking fifteen or twenty huipiles to another town to sell them once a year. She would go to another town where there were a lot of tourists. It is very important for me to weave because once, when we didn't have enough money, we went down to another village, and I sold two huipiles which had been used very little, and that way we were able to make it through the hard time."
- Unidentified woman, 1980s
2) "Many of our male comrades recognize this wealth of knowledge that we women have. Our women have known how to struggle for our culture. It's women who preserve the art of weaving; we are the weavers. Our knowledge concerning weaving, our art, is very advanced. That's why many people everywhere consider the Guatemalan woman to be an artist. And weaving is an art."
- Rigoberta Menchú, 1983
3) "When one has suffered discrimination and oppression, one starts to feel like they're not important. So many people are telling you, 'You're not important' you start to believe that your dress isn't worth anything. After finding out what the colors and designs mean in the huipiles, though, you feel more Indian, more part of the culture. Learning about the designs on my dress and the colors has been the most important part of my healing from the torture this year."
- Unidentified woman, 1986
4) "The army is so astute that they can detect in a moment where a woman comes from by her blouse, her huipil. And if they see a woman in the capital city who is from Patzun, she will be suspect. They will say, 'Ah ha! Out there in Patzun there are guerrilla movements, there are people's organizations.' So the Indians say, "Well, it is not to our advantage to use the traditional dress."
- A Maya Leader, 1980s
5) "I can't get accustomed to taking off my traditional clothes. I can't adjust to putting on other clothes. I can only wear other clothes for an hour or two. I can't leave my dress, it's part of me. Without my dress I don't feel calm inside, I feel like I'm missing something, something from me..."
- Unidentified Women, 1980s
6) "In most of the refugee camps (in Mexico), women are making an effort to continue weaving, though not the same designs they did in Guatemala. They are doing this out of necessity, for they now have many needs. Even though our designs are not the same, the act of weaving represents something very important. It shows people on the outside that we want to live, we don't want to die. Through our art we can express our feelings and one forgets for a moment what one has lived through."
- Elena Ixcot, 1987
7) "Many Guatemalan (weavers) must produce their art for sale. They are obligated to sell their whole form of expression, their art, in order to contribute to the family. It is important that when we see a weaver's product that we see the inspiration of the ancestors, the strength of a great culture. But we must also see it within the context of a social system and an economic and political order which is very unjust. One of the greatest problems is that there are plenty of people buying Guatemalan crafts who pay producers low prices and make big profits at national and international markets. For these reasons communities see the need to organize into small cooperatives to move towards a better future. Aj Quen (an organization which means "Weaving Together" in the Cakchikel language) was born as a solution. Aj Quen looks for alternative markets - people that understand the situation of the weavers, are willing to buy products at a fairer price, and who want to learn more about the problems of countries like Guatemala."
- Ileana Cordon, director of Aj Quen, 1992
8) "I am 12 years old. I used to go to school. But I don't go to school anymore. I must help my mother do laundry for the plantation owner's family, because we need the money. Our water comes from a stream, about a mile from home. Everyday I go there with my friends, and we carry water back in large water jugs, balanced on our heads. Many afternoons, the girls in my community get together in the shade of a huge tree and do our weaving. We talk and weave, and our grandmothers sometimes join us to tell stories."
- Juanita Tzul, 1992
9) "I used to weave and sew all of the clothes for my family but thread is every expensive now. Sometimes I have to buy clothing made in Taiwan or El Salvador. I did make my huipil, and I have worn it everyday since I married, 30 years ago. I teach the young girls how to weave and that makes me very happy to see them carry on our traditional patterns."
- Juanita Tzul's grandmother, 1992