Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj

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. 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. 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 was a visiting professor at the Watson Institute at Brown in 2018-2019, where she taught 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).