Indian rebels of the past, who wanted to go back to pre-Columbian times, Rigoberta Menchu is not fighting in the name of an idealized or mythical past. (Menchu xiii) Rigoberta is working toward drawing attention to the plight of native people around the globe.
Once an illiterate farm worker, she has taught herself to read and write Spanish, the language of her oppressor, as a means of relating her story to the world. She tells the story of her life with honesty and integrity in hopes of impressing upon the world the indignation of the oppressed. In addition to the Spanish language, Rigoberta borrows such things as the bible and trade union organization in order to use them against their original owners. There is nothing like the bible in her culture. She says, The Bible is written, and that gives us one more weapon. (Menchu xviii) Her people need to base their actions on the laws that come down from the past, on prophecy.
Her own history and the history of her family is told with great detail in the book I, Rigoberta Menchu. Not only does one learn about the culture of her people and about the community in which she lives, but an understanding is gained as to impetus to react against ones oppressor. Born the sixth child to an already impoverished but well respected family, Rigoberta remembers growing up in the mountains on land that no one else wanted, spending months at a time going with her family to work on the fincas (plantations).
A lorry owned by the finca would come to their village, and the workers, along with their children and animals, would ride together, in filthy and overcrowded conditions. Each lorry would hold approximately forty people, and the trip to the finca took two nights and one day, with no stops allowed for the bathroom, it is easy to imagine the unsanitary condition that resulted. Each worker would take with them a cup and a plate and a bottle for water when they worked in the fields. The youngest of the children that were not ...Show more