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Bak'tun 13 Festival: Maya Calendar Tradition and the Way of Life, Webcast Here From the National Museum of the American Indian

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The belief held by many that the world is going to end on Friday December 21, 2012, is yet another in the long list of misconceptions of Indigenous Peoples and does no one any favors, as many experts in Mayan culture have been working to demonstrate.

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), working in parallel with many others to dispel the doomsday myth, is holding a festival through the weekend, Bak’tun 13: A Guatemalan Celebration of Time, a free series of events from December 14 through 16 showcasing dance performances, lectures, workshops for families and Guatemalan cuisine, the latter in the museum’s Mitsitam Café.

"NMAI's mandate is to address the constant misconceptions that plague Indian America, like what the Maya are going through this season," said Jose Barreiro of the NMAI's Office of Latin America. "The Maya are a living culture, with a complex and serious spiritual tradition, not just another topic for nutty apocalyptic or appropriative writers, new age and academic."

Barreiro is moderating Maya Calendar Tradition and the Way of Life, a roundtable discussion with Roderico Teni, a "Maya–Qeqchi culture bearer who has worked on cultural preservation and social improvement in Maya communities of the Guatemalan highlands," the NMAI says on its website. "He is also a Maya day-keeper, one of the spiritual guides who advise communities, in part by consulting the 260-day sacred calendar, Tzolk´in (called the Chol Q´ij in K´iche´ Mayan)."

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It is one of two presentations being webcast on December 15. Watch Maya Calendar Tradition and the Way of Life below, starting at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time, and then follow it with the webcast of Maya from the Inside: The 13 Bak´tun as Challenge to the Western Mind, starting at 2:00 p.m.

The museum is encouraging visitors to tweet their questions to @SmithsonianNMAI using the hashtag #MayaCalendar.