K’iche’ (pronounced ; previous Spanish spelling: Quiché) are a Native American people, one of the Maya ethnic groups. Their indigenous language, the K’iche’ language, is a Mesoamerican language of the Mayan language family. The highland K’iche’ states in the pre-Columbian era are associated with the ancient Maya civilization, and reached the peak of their power and influence during the postclassic period. The meaning of the word “k’iche'” is “many trees.” The word is broken into two parts, “k’i”, meaning “many” and “che'”, meaning “tree.” The Nahuatl translation is Cuauhtēmallān which gave the name to the modern Nation of Guatemala. El Quiché is also the name of a department of modern Guatemala. Rigoberta Menchú, an activist for indigenous rights who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, is perhaps the best-known K’iche’.