Irma Velasquez

Social Anthropologist and Journalist

Country of focus: Guatemala
Based in Quetzaltenango

Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj, is a Maya-K’iche’ journalist, activist, and Brown University visiting professor from Guatemala.  Dr. Velasquez-Nimatuj is an international spokeswoman for Indigenous communities in Central America and was the first Maya-K’iche’ woman to earn a doctorate in social anthropology in Guatemala.  Dr. Nimatuj was also instrumental in making racial discrimination illegal in Guatemala and is featured in 500 Years, a documentary about Indigenous resistance movements, for her role as an activist and expert witness in war crime trials. Dr. Velasquez-Nimatuj writes a weekly newspaper column for El Periódico de Guatemala and has served on UN Women as a representative for Latin America and the Caribbean. She joined the Watson Institute at Brown in 2018, where she teaches courses about Central and Latin American history and culture. She is part  of a long line of struggle and resistance in her community since the Spanish invasion in 1524.  She is the author of the books:  La pequeña Burguesia Comercial de Guatemala: Desigualdades de clasa, raza y género (2003),  Pueblos indígenas, Estado y lucha por tierra en Guatemala: Estrategias de sobrevivencia y negociación ante la desigualdad globalizada (2008) and Lunas y Calendarios, colección poesía guatemalteca (2018).