Mam Language & Culture Free Workshop | Summer 2023

Red, purple, white weaving on a loom

Members of the Mayan community in Oakland, the Laney Latinx Cultural Center, and UC Berkeley Center for Latin American Studies offers workshops in Mam Language during summer 2023. 


Mam is a Mayan language spoken by around half a million people in Guatemala and Mexico. The Mam diaspora contains thousands of Mam speakers in Mexico and the United States, notably in Oakland, CA, and Washington D.C.  According to the US Department of Justice, Mam is one of the top ten most common language used in immigration courts, more common than French.  

This summer, the UC Berkeley Center for Latin American Studies has partnered with the Members of the Mayan community in Oakland and the Laney College Latinx Cultural Center to offer Mam classes. These classes are open to students at UC Berkeley, Laney College, and the general community. These courses are intended both for people who have some knowledge of Mam language and Mayan culture, as well as for those who are not familiar with either. 

This unofficial class offers an overview of Mam language and culture in Guatemala and Oakland, specifically looking at culture, history, language, art, and mathematics through the development of basic conversational skills in contemporary Mam language. 

Mam Courses

Classes will meet in person in Oakland (Laney College at Fruitvale Public Library, both accessible by BART). Participation is free, but contributions are appreciated. 


Mam language: Alfredo Sales and Felipe Can 

Mayan Mathematics: Felipe Can and Alfredo Sales

Weaving: Henry Sales

Other instructors: Olga Perez, Ana Diaz, Graciela Carrillo, Guadalupe Hernandez

Class dates:

Tuesday, June 20 to Sunday, July 30.

No classs on Juneteenth (6/19), 4th of July (7/4) or July 16.

Class schedule:

Mondays 4-6pm at Laney College (Weaving)

Tuesdays 4-6pm  at Laney College (Mam Language)

Wednesdays 4-6pm  at Laney College (Weaving)

Thursdays 4-6pm  at Laney College (Mam Language)

Sundays 10am-12pm at Oakland Public Library, Cesar Chavez Branch (Mayan Mathematics)


To register, please complete this form. 


To enroll in the workshop, students should be 14 years or older and speak Spanish at an intermediate level or higher. Students do not have to be currently registered aty UC Berkeley or Laney College. 

More information