People familiar with Chaa Creek know how much Belize’s Maya heritage means to us. Like pretty much all Belizeans – especially that twelve percent of the population whose ancestors were, thousands of years ago, Belize’s first settlers – we are proud of the Maya civilisation that flourished here, and stand in awe of that highly advanced society’s many accomplishments and contributions to the world.
The sprawling ancient Maya cities, the beautiful temples, artwork, murals, fresco and wealth of artefacts we’re surrounded with are a daily reminder of this rich, fascinating history and heritage – a patrimony that belongs to and enriches the life of each and every Belizean.
Which is why, when people take Maya artefacts out of the country, they are stealing much more than a piece of jade, pottery or stone. They are taking an irreplaceable part of a common inheritance that helps define Belize and Belizeans.
Imagine tourists to the US tearing off little bits of the Constitution. Or chipping away a piece of the Liberty Bell to take home and show their friends...
So you can understand why we loudly and vigorously applaud the memorandum of understanding between the US and Belizean governments that was signed February 23, 2018.
Officially titled the “Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Imposition of Import Restriction on Archaeological Material of Belize” the agreement identifies trafficking in artefacts as a serious international offence.
That little jade bead the friendly guy in the bar offers you? Maybe a shard of coloured pottery? Or a spear point? Taking it out of Belize can put you in a world of trouble.
And while smuggling artefacts out of Belize has always been a crime, there will now be greater scrutiny, and greater penalties for doing so.
As icing on the cake, the US also handed over Belizean Maya artefacts that agents from the US National Park Service confiscated from a hapless tourist.
You can read more about the MoU on the US Embassy Belize’s Facebook page, HERE.
So, be happy with your photographs and memories. And if you want to really embrace ancient Maya culture and return home with memories and images you’ll talk about forever, immerse yourself in Maya history with one of Chaa Creek’s many tours, excursions, day trips or all-inclusive Belize vacation packages focussed on Maya culture. You’ll not only gain priceless experiences, you’ll be helping to protect promote and support Maya culture – past and present.
Now there’s a souvenir you can feel good about...