Chief Chevez was invited by the Minnesota Maya Society to speak about the Lenca culture and symbols.
Letter of thanks from the Maya Society captured the moment:
On behalf of the Maya Society MN Board I would like to thank you for your visit. The efforts made on our behalf for you to leave your sanctuary in Australia to join our small community in the middle of the North American continent are sincerely appreciated. Your physical, emotional and intellectual energy are admirable! Your desire to share your Lenca cultural patrimony was evident over the entire visit. The knowledge base you shared left deep footprints insights on our understanding of the Lenca, but also the functioning of the broader Mesoamerican cultures. Your generous spirit, kindness and wonderful sense of humor were evident at all times.
Excepts from Chief Chevez’s letter in return:
It is with great pleasure that I, as the hereditary chief of the Lenca nation, formed by the many ethnicities, bands and tribes that came together since Palaeolithic times, thank you for being so welcoming and such caring hosts. I deemed my visit to the twin cities as a highlight in my year. I also believe that nothing happens as an accident. The people I met, the topics I discussed and the ropes we mend, are all towards a betterment of you and I, your people and my people.
Being the hereditary chief of a nation split with six borders … is very challenging to say the least. What brings me hope is that my descendants are embracing what is good from the people in their second countries, adding their own heritage, and being good citizens who truly care about the cities and countries where they live. That makes me immensely proud and gives me hope that my contribution and the contribution of my dynasty will live on.
I want to expressly thank the Maya Society of MN for their role in joining forces with my citizen and local representatives who tirelessly has advocated my visit for years. This is a good example how the society and the tribal representative can find common grounds and create opportunities of exchange that benefit both.
Additionally, I want to thank all for the extra effort made to bring members of the diaspora from the three states within Managuara, that means Salvadorians, Hondurans and Nicaraguans. I was so happy to have them all with me. Thank you everyone who brought images of our ancient symbols, which due to security I am unable to re visit, since I saw them in my early teens. You really replenished my soul by bringing images of those unique ideograms.
Also, I was immensely grateful at the presence of many senior archaeologist and related disciplines during my casual presentation regarding the making of the land of Managuara. Thank you to the technical team, the caterers, the academics and the university for collaborating to make that moment possible. The Lenca people cannot live and hear their chief in their lands, therefore, what you allowed is a gift to all of us.
Perhaps an unexpected and incomparable gift was my several meetings with different Native American people and entities. I had the opportunity to hear from them, how they are rescuing the stories of their sacred sites, the struggle to defend their ecology from industrial obliteration and more. I was moved by the time spent with Native American leaders such as Jim, who kindly performed welcome to site blessing and who also showed us the surviving mounds. I truly hope his paper gets published, so that we can cherish the fact that North America was home to some of the earliest and well calculated calendars.
In addition to the above, I was encouraged by the effort of other leaders and programs to preserve language, art and other cultural asset of the first people. I am sure you will succeed.
…I also will support the efforts to strengthen our relationship with the Native American nations in the region, so that we can better help each other. Finally, I am sure that the relationship between the Maya Society and the Lenca will flourish, leading us both to new breakthroughs.
I congratulate, I celebrate, and I commend everyone who made it possible. Thank you very much.
Leonel. A. Chevez
Ti Manauelike Lenca Taulepa teriki Managuara Najochan.