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Mayan Indian people of the midwestern highlands of Guatemala, closely related linguistically and culturally to the neighbouring Quiche and Tzutujil (qq.v.). They are agricultural, and their culture and religion are fusions of Spanish and Mayan elements. The sharing of a common language does not provide a basis for ethnic identification among the Cakchiquels; the Indians themselves, like other Mayan peoples of the region, are organized into municipios (communities, or counties), and the people identify themselves with their own municipio. Each community usually speaks its own dialect of Cakchiquel, which is mutually intelligible with other dialects of Cakchiquel and is partly intelligible with Quiche and Tzutujil. Each community also has its own political and religious hierarchy, local costume, patron saints, and economic specialty. Often, marriage outside the municipio is considered improper. See also Maya

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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