Workable Peace: Indigenous Rights and the Environment in Latin America

PON Books
December 2007

Workable Peace is an innovative high school humanities curriculum and professional development project for secondary school classrooms.  Using new teaching materials and strategies, Workable Peace integrates the study of intergroup conflict and the development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and perspective-taking skills into social studies and humanities content.  It gives teachers academically rigorous tools for teaching the major themes and key events of history in ways that enliven the imagination, awaken moral reasoning, and impart social and civic skills that students can use throughout their lives.

Indigenous Rights and the Environment in Latin America centers on the political upheaval in Guatemala, caused in part by Spanish colonial rule and the Guatemalan Civil War of 1960-1996.  Students examine the prelude to the US-backed coup of 1954, exploring the perspectives of the reformist Arbenz government and of the United States.  After decades of war, rebels and the Guatemalan government finally signed a peace agreement, ending the conflict in 1996.  The role play, From Truce to Peace, is set during the post 1996 peace agreement, and focuses on several of the many issues- human rights, land reform, and rights of the Mayan people- that were left unresolved by that agreement.