In the study of colonial history the ability to discover the voice of the people is often hindered by the fact that most extant sources are archival, written by those who held power. In some instances mediated sources have survived which can be read as colonialist text, or can be read subversively, from the perspective of the colonized. Such is the case surrounding the events which began in May 1865 when a traditional Yucatecan religious festival was held in the Maya village of Xaibe, near Corozal in the Northern District of Belize (known at that time as British Honduras). The newly appointed British magistrate laid criminal charges against those celebrants who had engaged in the alleged cruelties of the vaquería or bullfights held in conjunction with the fiesta. In June, nearly four hundred residents of the District, “Persons of mixed Spanish and Indian descent and Indians,” petitioned the House of Assembly demanding redress from a magistrate who had, “systematically harassed and oppressed the people … prevented them from disposing of their commodities before the hours of service on Sunday mornings … and has endeavoured and partly succeeded in putting a stop to the festivities of one of their most sacred and cherished festivals.” The petition was rejected and colonial authorities challenged its authenticity, the integrity and character of the signatories, and the “alien” culture it represented.