While most of the major races and religions
are represented in Guatemala, a large percentage of the population
consists of Mayan descendants.
In 1996, the illiterate index rate was 35,8%
prior to the signature of the peace accords between the government
and the guerrilla. The indigenous population, integrated Mayan,
Garifuna and Xinca groups speak 24 different dialects and
practice a Catholicism mixed with ancestral rites and beliefs.
Nowadays, there is a recognition and constitutional respect
towards the “ways of life, customs, traditions and forms
of social organization, the use of indigenous costume in men
and women, and languages,” as well as the historical
landmarks of the indigenous communities, consequently translated
into concrete programs directed to a more productive harmony.