Garifuna Issues

 

This page has items on Garifuna and Garinagu.  This will include spirituality and creative arts.

Garifuna Language taught in Schools

BATTLE OF THE DRUMS

PRESS RELEASE

OCTOBER 11, 2012

The Battle of the Drums Garifuna Language and Garifuna Arts and Craft in Schools program is a collaboration between the Toledo Catholic Schools management, Garifuna Artisans and resource persons, UNICEF and the Battle of the Drums Secretariat. Through the program the teaching of the Garifuna Language and the teaching of the making traditional Garifuna Arts and Crafts was introduced in the two primary schools in the Toledo District, namely, St. Peter Claver School of Punta Gorda Town and St. Joseph R.C. School in Barranco Village. At St. Peter Claver School Garifuna Language is being taught at the Infant one level while Garifuna Arts and Craft is being taught at the Standard 3 level. In Barranco’s St. Joseph R.C. School both Garifuna Language and Arts and Craft are being taught at all levels.

During a brief ceremony held at the Father Francis Ring Parish Hall in Punta Gorda Town on Thursday, October 11, 2012 the program was launched. The launch serves to officially introduce the program and to sensitize the general public of the establishment of the program. Attending the launch were personnel from UNICEF, the Ministry of Education and Catholic Schools Local Management, the principals of St. Peter Claver School of Punta Gorda Town and St. Joseph R.C. School in Barranco Village, facilitators, teachers and students of the program and members of the Battle of the Drums Secretariat.

Approximately 250 students participates in The Garifuna Language and Garifuna Arts and Craft in Schools program which is part of the Battle of the Drums Garifuna cultural retrieval and preservation agenda and is complimentary to its other programs and projects including the Battle of the Drums Garifuna Drumming in Schools Program, the Annual Summer Camp and the Annual Primary Schools Garifuna Translation Contest. The program is being financed through a grant provided by UNICEF and in-kind contributions from the Battle of the Drums Secretariat.

The video shows a presentation of Infant 1 students showcasing some words they have learnt so far.

END


Garifuna Continuity in Land: Barranco Settlement and Land Use 1862-2000

 

Book Launch:

Garifuna Continuity in Land: Barranco Settlement and Land Use 1892 to 2000

 

            At this time of the year all Belizeans celebrate with the Garifuna people their first settlement in the country of Belize. To add greater significance to what settlement means for the Garifuna three authors have been compiling information on land use in house lots and farmlands in the village of Barranco for over thirty years.

            The result is a book that will have two launches within the next few days, Garifuna Continuity in Land: Barranco Settlement and Land Use 1892 to 2000. The book will be launched in Barranco Village Friday November 18 at 4:00 p.m. The second launch will take place Tuesday November 22 at the Image Factory in Belize City at 10:00 a.m.

            The book traces the ownership and use of land in Barranco from the time of the first official survey in 1892 to 2000. In tying together land tenure with kinship the book documents not only who applied for land but also through what blood and other family ties ownership has transpired for over three and more generations.

            The extensive archival methods the book uses makes it very important to scholars as well as to all people interested in the history of land tenure in our urban and rural communities. More especially for the village of Barranco and surrounding communities the reader can find out what land his/her ancestor owned and the successive owners up to 2000. There are also numerous photographs to stimulate the interest of readers – young and not so young.

            The authors are Dr. Joseph O. Palacio, Carlson Tuttle, and Judy Lumb. It is published by Producciones de la Hamaca, which is based in Caye Caulker. Books will be available for sale at the launches. Members of the public are invited for the launch in Barranco, Friday, November 18 at 4:00 p.m. and in Belize City Tuesday November 22, 10:00 a.m. at the Image Factory.

 

Joseph O. Palacio

Barranco, November 14th, 2011. 

BELIZEANS AND GARIFUNAS IN NEW YORK AND OTHER STATES CELEBRATE GARIFUNA SETTLEMENT DAY

 

BELIZEANS AND GARIFUNAS IN NEW YORK AND OTHER STATES CELEBRATE GARIFUNA SETTLEMENT DAY

By: Wellington C. Ramos

        On the 19th of November  1823 Elijio Beni and Satuye arrived in Belize from Honduras  with a group of his people to seek refuge in the town of Dangriga which is in the country of Belize due to a Civil War in that country that resulted in many of their people being massacred. Other Garifuna people fled Honduras and escaped to Nicaragua, Guatemala and Belize where they reside up to this day. Since then, every year the Garifuna people living in Dangriga Town and the southern parts of Belize,  have been celebrating their arrival from Honduras to their new homeland annually on this date.

       In 1941, a visionary Garifuna leader who was born in Trujillo Honduras and grew up in Dangriga Town  by the name of Thomas Vincent Ramos  founded  the Garifuna Settlement Day. He later organized his people to petition the British Governor of Belize to grant the southern Districts in Belize a holiday for that region and it was awarded in 1943. In 1977, the Belize Government made it a National Public and Bank Holiday to be celebrated throughout the entire country. Since then, Belizeans from all over the country have been celebrating Garifuna Settlement Day in Belize.

       I have always asked myself, Why is it that the Garifuna people were the only ethnic group out of all the ethnic groups in Belize that were given a holiday to celebrate by the British? It could be that the British felt that they owed the Garifuna people something,  when they forcefully removed them from their native homeland Saint Vincent after they were defeated by the British on March 11th , 1797 and killed their king Chotoyer. They were later assembled and interned on the island of Baliceaux placed on some ships and dropped off at the island of Roatan as Prisoners of War  where they landed on April the 12th, 1797. The British had promised the Garifuna people,  that they were going to take them to a better homeland but it ended up being Roatan a place they hated due the lack of fertility in the soil to grow their food and bad drinking water. The Garifuna people then started to move from Roatan to other places along the coastline of Honduras to live.

      During that time the British were occupying territories in Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua. The British were also having territorial disputes with the Spanish over the Belizean territory which led to a full scale war in September of 1797. In a research conducted by Nancy Gonzalez an Anthropologist, she stated in her book namely; Sojourners of the Caribbean the “Ethnogenesis and Ethonohistory of the Garifuna” that the British had uniforms waiting for the Garifuna soldiers to wear to help them fight against the Spanish to retain Belize. The British were aware of their superb fighting skills because of the wars they fought against them.

   This year the United Garifuna Association Inc. of New York City will be celebrating their 188th Anniversary since the Garifuna people landed on the shores of Dangriga Town Belize with a 19th of November Celebrations Dance to be held at Africa House in Brooklyn New York City. The dance is $35 dollars in advance and $40 dollars by the door. Supporters who are interested in experiencing this historic cultural event,  should contact the Entertainment Director Mr. Darrell Marshall for tickets at: 917-627-6700. The Artists that will be performing at this dance are among the best in the business and they are as follows; “Guwie”  Augustine, “Paula” Castillo and “Loverby” Cacho,   a young up and coming singer, dancer and performer from Belize. They will be backed up by one of Belize’s most popular band in New York City Melody Swingers. The Honorary Guest is;  His Excellency Nestor Mendez the Belizean Ambassador to the United States and Representatives from the Belize Mission to the United Nations. We are looking forward for you to come and enjoy yourselves with us.

    

 

Barranco Land Flyer

 

 

2011 Baruda Awards Recipients

 

 

2011 Barauda Awards

Copyright 2011 by Teofilo Colon Jr.  (a.k.a. “Tio Teo” or “Teofilo Campeon”)  All Rights Reserved.

New York, New York — Garifuna Organization CASA YURUMEIN (a.k.a. Hondurans Against AIDS, Inc) has announced the rest of the winners of 2011 Barauda Awards for Women of Garifuna Descent.  The 2011 Barauda Awards is taking place on Saturday October 1st 2011 in Manhattan.

The winners of 2011 Barauda Awards Are (names are included along with the communities, countries or organizations each winner represents):

Thelma Gomez — Bajamar, Honduras

Irene Aranda — Belize

Isidra Sabio — Garifuna Coalition USA Inc

Suyapa Moralez — Garifuna Coalition USA Inc

Margarita Fernandez — Corozal, Honduras

Olga M. Levia — Guatemala

Vilma Guillen — Halagule Wayunagu

Patrocinia Santos — Rio Tinto, Honduras

Nory Ogaldez — Tornabe, Honduras

Rufina Castillo — Travesia, Honduras

Enriqueta Martinez — Triunfo De La Cruz, Honduras

The Barauda Awards (named after Barauda, who is recognized as the wife of Garifuna Freedom Fighter Joseph Chatoyer) honors Women of Garifuna Descent for their efforts and fighting spirit in their communities and organizations.

The 2011 Barauda Awards (presented annually by non-profit organization Hondurans Against AIDS Inc, a.k.a. “Casa Yurumein”) will take place on Saturday, October 1st 2011, 6 in the evening at:

310 W. 43rd Street
New York, New York

Tickets will cost $35.00 and for more information, call (718) 991-2233.

Beinggarifuna.com extends a Mabrigau (“Salute” in the Garifuna Language) to all the recipients of 2011 Barauda Awards.

Please like and share this article with anyone you feel may be interested in this Garifuna news item.

Stay tuned to Beinggarifuna.com for the latest Garifuna News as it develops.

– Tio Teo 

Garifuna Coalition USA Third Annual Yellow White and Black 2011 Garifuna Settlement Day Gala

 

Dear Colleague
 
New York – The Board of Directors of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. a, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization is pleased to announce the presentation of  the Garifuna Coalition Awards during its Third Annual Yellow White and Black 2011 Garifuna Settlement Day Gala, scheduled for Saturday November 19th, 2011 to be held at The Eastwood Manor located at 3371 Eastchester Rd Bronx, NY 10469.
 
The Garifuna Coalition Recognition Awards recognize individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievements in the areas of sustained service to the community, community development, and preservation of the Garifuna Culture. In addition, we also recognize individuals who have contributed to the development of the Garifuna Community in New York City. Recipients are selected for their leadership, commitment, community involvement, work experience and dedication to the Garifuna cause. Their spirit and actions demonstrate a fundamental truth: that leaders working together can build a community and preserve a culture.   This year’s honorees are:
 
Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz, Sr
32nd Senate District
 New York State Senate Resolution J 336 declaring March 11 - April 12, 2011, as Garifuna-American Heritage Month in the State of New York
 
Garifuna-American Heritage Month banquet titled “ABRAZO GARIFUNA
 
Mr. Carlos Gotay
Preservation of the Garifuna Spirituality in an acculturated world
 
Mrs. J. Erlene Williams-King
For her contribution in reconnecting the Garifuna Diaspora with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Yurumein)
 
Assembly member Eric A. Stevenson
Assembly District 79
New York State Assembly Resolution K 195-2011, declaring March 11 - April 12, 2011, as Garifuna-American Heritage Month in the State of New York.
 
Mr. Mariano Martinez
J Dove Productions, Inc.
For his contribution to the preservation of the Garifuna Culture in New York City
 
The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. is proud to recognize the above individuals for their contribution and dedication to the Garifuna cause and invites the community to join us in recognizing them.
 
 The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc invites you to reserve the date for an evening of fine dining, open bar, dancing and more. Proceeds from the Gala will go to support the operation of the Garifuna Coalition Advocacy Center in the Bronx. The Center serves as the basic advocacy and organizing needs of Garifuna immigrants from Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
 
The theme for the Third Annual Yellow White and Black Fundraising Gala is based on the colors of the Garifuna flag, which consists of three horizontal stripes: Yellow is for the Amerindian heritage, White is for peace and freedom and Black is for the African Heritage, According to the National Garifuna Council of Belize, this flag has long been accepted internationally as the flag of the Garifuna Nation.
 
The Garifuna Coalition promotes harmony and unity among Garifunas, Garifuna-Americans and all persons and organizations of good will to promote and share our cultural heritage, improve the quality of life and community empowerment of New York’s Garifuna Community.
 
  
Garifuna Pride - Our Voice - Our Vision
 Garinagu Wagia!

Ms Sulma Arzu Brown becomes Managing Director of Garifuna Coalition

Sulma Arzu Brown Becomes Managing Director of the Garifuna Coalition

 
The Board of Directors of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc, is pleased to announce that on July 11, 2011 Sulma Arzu Brown took up the post of the Garifuna Coalition’s Managing Director. She took over from Jose Francisco Avila, the organization’s Chair who had also been acting as interim Executive Director.
 
Sulma is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Garifuna Coalition Garifuna Coalition to achieve the goals and further the mission of the organization, to serve as a resource, a forum, and advocate for Garifuna issues and a united voice for the Garifuna community.
 
She brings to the Garifuna Coalition more than 10 years business experience, including experience as a job developer, where she demonstrated ability to initiate and foster robust partnerships and strategic alliances with businesses and allied agencies and stakeholders for the effective delivery of programs and services to clients. Sulma holds a BA in Mass Communication from the Herbert Lehman College.
 
"We are delighted by this appointment. The Board looks forward to working with Sulma to ensure that the Garifuna Coalition manages not only to sustain its position as an advocate for the Garifuna Community but help to guide the organization to the next level of organizational growth.,” said Jose Francisco Avila.
 
"I am very pleased to have the opportunity to lead such a dynamic advocacy organization. I look forward to working with both volunteers and Board members working diligently on the mission is to advocate for the improvement of the social, economic, civic and cultural conditions of the Garifuna Immigrant Community in New York City." Said  Sulma Arzu-Brown.
 
The Garifuna Coalition is grateful to the Fund for New Citizens at the New York Community Trust for its authorization of a one-year grant of $30,000 to be used to hire the Managing Director.
 
 
 

SERIOUS  PROBLEMS DEVELOPING BETWEEN SEINE BIGHT AND PLACENCIA VILLAGE IN BELIZE

 

SERIOUS  PROBLEMS DEVELOPING BETWEEN SEINE BIGHT AND PLACENCIA VILLAGE IN BELIZE

By: Wellington C. Ramos

      Seine Bight village is located in  Stann Creek District which is one of the southern districts where the Garifuna people have resided since they first landed in Belize. This village was founded by a group of Garifuna people,  who migrated from the country of Honduras in the mid 1800’s because of their involvement in the Revolutionary War for Honduras independence where many of them were slaughtered. The village was named after the net that the Garifuna people make to catch fish and the geographical location where it exist. The Garifuna people are people that are mixed with African and Carib Indian from the Island of Saint Vincent who fought against the Spanish, French and British that were trying to take away their territory from them. On March the 11th, 1797 the British succeeded in conquering the Garifuna people and they were assembled and imprisoned on the island of Baliceaux  before they were deported to Roatan Honduras where they arrived on April the 12th, 1797. 

         South of Seine Bight village is Placencia village a peninsula  which is made up of people who are mostly of European ancestry. This village was founded by a group of British Puritans who migrated from Nova Scotia in Canada  to Belize in the 1600’s when the British took Belize from Spain and started to bring their citizens to occupy the territory. This settlement died out during the Central American war for independence in the 1820’s. The Spaniards that travelled the southern coast of Belize gave Placencia its name. During that time Placencia was called Placentia, with the point being called Punta Placentia or Pleasant Point. The people of Placencia survive mainly by fishing up to the 19th century but since the 20th century, this village has been attracting a large number of tourist to its shores because of the beautiful beaches and the cayes that are adjacent to it. Commercial activity has also stepped up and the population is growing fast with White foreigners. The demand for land is becoming a problem for Placencia residents because most of the land is in the area where Seine Bight is which is closer to the Southern Highway.

       These are two villages with different cultures  and they want to live independently of each other but the Garifuna people are beginning to suspect that since the people of Placencia are more economically better off than them, the Belize government will decide to side with the people from Placencia. Historically, the people from Placencia have always supported the United Democratic Party while the people from Seine Bight  more favored  the People’s United Party. The younger generation of Seinebightians are  not loyal to the People’s United Party like their ancestors so the United Democratic Party should move cautiously with their expansion plan. The People’s United Party has governed Belize more than the United Democratic Party and may have favored Seine Bight over Placencia to get political support.  In 1962 shortly after hurricane Hattie, Prime Minister George Price had asked the Garifuna people to leave Dangriga Town, Seine Beight and Hopkins villages to live elsewhere. The two villages that were created for the Garifuna people were,  Georgetown which was named after him and Silk Grass. Some Garifuna families moved from Seine Bight to Georgetown  but none from Dangriga Town or Hopkins. Garifuna people felt that George Price was planning to move them to sell the land to rich investors and this would have had  a severe impact on their culture because they are attached to the   sea. Also, Silk Grass at the time was infested with Sandflies  that when we were children growing up in Dangriga Town we would refer to it as Sandfly village.

      Recently,  it was brought to my attention by a Belizean American woman  serving in the American Armed Services,  that she purchased a property in the village of Seine Bight. To her surprise, when she received her Title to this property, the document had on the Conveyance Northern Placencia. How can there be a Northern Placencia in the village of Seine Bight? I can more understand that in the description of the property the location could read north of Placencia which is completely different from what the document contains. I was told that there is a proposal to change the name of Seine Bight to a new name. If the government of Belize or a group of people are planning to change the name of Seine Bight to another name, I would strongly advise them to bring that proposal to the Garifuna people from Seine Bight to decide. Such a proposal should  be agreed upon at a Town Hall Meeting and a referendum by the people of Seine Bight and then passage through the Belize House of Representatives and the Senate.

       Any attempt by the government of Belize or any group to try and change the name of Seine Bight without going through this process will lead to retaliation from the Garifuna community in Belize and worldwide. I am not convinced that this government under Prime Minister Barrow  will  engage itself in such a foolish political exercise. I am now calling on the Garifuna people from Seine Bight to take this issue seriously and start to ask some questions. Also, to request from the government  that the boundaries of Seine Bight and Placencia villages be clearly defined. If the Government of Belize is planning to exercise its right to Eminent Domain on the citizens of these two villages, that it be exercised fairly through consultations with the residents of both villages. Seine Bight residents might be forced to sell their lands due to their economic conditions but they better make sure that they obtain the real value for their properties. While Placencia is attracting tourist and Seine Bight has the Garifuna culture to display, both villages can benefit from this relationship. The Garifuna people in Seine Bight must now organize themselves to sell their culture while their neighbors in Placencia sell their beaches and cayes. With the airport coming in that area soon,  the value of the properties will likely increase so it would not be wise to rush and sell your properties now.

 

Habinaha Garinagu 2011 in St Vincent

Texas Tech Response to Bat Naming

 

Wednesday, June 30, 2011
 
To: Garifuna Community
 
From: Cheryl L. Noralez, President & Founder
            Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United, Inc.
            www.garifunaheritagefoundation.org
 
I would like to update the Garifuna Community of the progress being made regarding the renaming of the new species of bats native to our motherland Yurumein / St.Vincent & The Grenadines.  First of all, I would like to thank Santiago J. Ruiz, Ph.D., a Garifuna who works as a Socio-Cultural Anthropologist in Florida and who has been collaborating with Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United on this issue.  Dr. Ruiz has been in direct telephone contact with Llewellyn D. Densmore, Ph.D., Professor and Chair Department of Biological Sciences at Texas Tech University since Tuesday, June 28 internationally via Honduras where he is at the moment. 
I would also like to acknowledge Isha Summer, a Garifuna woman and International Actress, for her continued call to the Garifuna leaders and for getting involved in this crucial cause.  Isha was the person who initially suggested that this bat species be called “búriri” for bat in our ancestral language Garifuna. Therefore, I would like to thank Jerry Castro, Ruben Reyes, Trish St. Hill and all of those whose name I did not mention but you know you were part of this effort. 
I have included the email that I received from Llewellyn D. Densmore, Ph.D. Professor and Chair Department of Biological Sciences at Texas Tech University.  I am pleased to announce that the news that I received in writing from Dr. Densmore to the Garifuna Community is very positive.  This is the accomplishment of a united front through working together as one.
 
Cheryl L. Noralez
 
This is the copy of the email received today:
 
 
Dear Ms. Noralez,
 
I sincerely appreciate your comments.  Based on comments from the editor in chief of the journal where the description is being published it is my understanding that Peter and his co-authors have been given permission to retract the name garifuna and replace it with búriri. Peter is one of the most dedicated and conscientious young scientists that I know and I am certain that the response to the naming of the bat has caused him considerable concern and anxiety.  You are quite correct in stating what might be considered a great honor by the scientific community, could be viewed in a totally different light by another group of people having a different culture, values and background.  This has been the most important lesson that I (and I am sure Peter) have learned from this experience and one that I will pass on to my own graduate students.  If we ever name a species after a person, culture, or group of people, we will be sure to contact them a priori to guarantee that we have not offended anyone in any way.  I believe that Peter's actions in retracting and renaming the bat will demonstrate his integrity and desire to 'do the right thing'.
 
Again, thank you for contacting me.  I have been in email contact with a number of folks from the Garifuna culture over the past several days, and I appreciate all the communications I have had.
 
With warmest regards,
 
Lou Densmore
 
Llewellyn D. Densmore, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Biological Sciences
and Director, TTU/HHMI Science Education Program at CISER
 
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX  79409-3131
 
Phone (806) 742-2715FAX (806) 742-2963

Garifuna Nation response to Texas Tech on the Bat name 'Garifuna'

 

GARIFUNA NATION

(GARINAGU AND GARIFUNA ORGANIZATIONS OF THE WORLD)

We are addressing you as members and citizens of this prestigious Nation with the same pride and commitment we have represented through our involvement in matters pertaining to it.

The reason for this first letter is to inform of the proposed appointment of a species of bat to be named "Garifuna," which will take place over the next few days. (See attached article, Tech biologists discover

new species of bats,posted June 19, 2011 at http://www.dailytoreador.com/news/article_67870f22-

9aae-11e0-bf81-001a4bcf6878.html.

We need a coalition of organizations on a temporary / permanent basis to address this crisis, which could have a permanent negative impact presently and very catastrophic for our future generations.

Therefore, we urge you to take action immediately.

You are invited to participate in a brainstorming meeting via conference call, today, Tuesday, June 28, at

7:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST) 8:00 p.m. (Belize/Honduras/Guatemala), 9:00 p.m. Central

Standard Time (CST) (Panama) 10:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) (St. Vincent). Please contribute any suggestions or ideas from which we can arrive at a unified agreement that will govern the negotiating table and serve as a protest against the institution of the proposed aforementioned action.

To join the discussion, call the following at 7:00 p.m. PST, 9:00 p.m. CST, 10:00 p.m. EST:

Conference Dial-in Number: (209) 647-1000 - Participant Access Code: 893204#

The protest will be against the Texas Tech Institute, which is sponsoring the research and responsible for

the actions undertaken by the researchers. The conference call is one of many that will lay out the

action Garinagu will take to strategize and take into account the community's recommendation.

The following is proposed:

Texas Tech to rename the mammal to "Buriri" the name which is already provided by our

ancestors centuries ago.

The resignation of the biologist involved in the naming of the bat.

A public apology from Texas Tech and St. Vincent’s government to the Garifuna people

Create a Garifuna Collegiate Studies Taskforce where Texas Tech and Universities across the

country will partner with members of the Garifuna community to have a better understanding

of the history and challenges of the Garifuna Diaspora.

Let’s stop the questionable intentions of those who want to denigrate our Culture, Garifunaduaü and

our name, as we are the architects of our own blueprint and the engineers of our future.

As we all know this is an issue beyond any individual. Therefore, we must come together as a nation to

face an attack purposely directed to damage the integrity of our name. Ours is the responsibility to tell

the world of who we are, and how we should be treated.

Seremein,

Ruben Reyes

6/27/11 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bat Researchers Discover New Species on St Vincent Island

 

Bat Researchers Discover New Species on St. Vincent Island

The new species' origins probably trace back to a dramatic marooning after glaciers receded and sea levels rose.

Written by John Davis

This photo shows the size difference between the new species (A) and its closest relative from Tobago (B).

This photo shows the size difference between the new species (A) and its closest relative from Tobago (B).

At first glance, the bat captured in St. Vincent looked like a common type found in South America.

But after closer inspection, Texas Tech biologists discovered a new species found only on the Caribbean island and whose origins probably trace back to a dramatic marooning after glaciers receded and sea levels rose.

The discovery was made by Peter Larsen, a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Lizette Siles, graduate student of zoology. It was featured in the online version of the peer-reviewed journal, Mammalian Biology.

Researchers from the University of Scranton, South Dakota State University and the University of Nebraska also contributed to the discovery.

As a way of honoring St. Vincent’s inhabitants, the researchers said this new species of the genus Micronycteris has been named after the Garifuna people – the blended culture of Carib, Arawak and West African peoples that trace their ancestry back to St. Vincent.

Larsen said he went to St. Vincent in 2005-2006 on two expeditions with a team of researchers seeking to categorize bat diversity on the island.

“We didn’t know at the time when we caught these particular specimens that it was a new species,” he said. “We thought it was a species that had been described already in South America.  A year or so went by, and I happened to look at this species that we had collected and compared it to what we thought it was – a species from Trinidad. But the St. Vincent bat was huge comparatively speaking.”

Larsen gave the sample to Siles, who is an expert in Neotropical bat morphology. After looking at the teeth and the skull, she determined the bat from St. Vincent was distinct from its closest South American relatives. Though the mainland relatives are smaller, often small animals grow larger and large animals grow smaller when introduced onto an island.

Siles said that though the island effects on the body size may have played a role in this example, the species on St. Vincent is genetically distinct and has species-level differences in body type, which is how the team determined that the bat was a new species to science.

After looking at the teeth and the skull, it was determined the bat from St. Vincent was distinct from its closest South American relatives.

After looking at the teeth and the skull, it was determined the bat from St. Vincent was distinct from its closest South American relatives.

“Its size was the first clue,” she said. “It’s a very large bat in body and skull size compared to its mainland counterparts. Also it differs in specific skull and teeth characteristics. The lower incisors are a lot larger than they are wide. That’s completely different than the one he thought it was. At the base of the skull where the ear is, there are supposed to be two wells. Those wells are very shallow. On the mainland species, they’re very deep.”

The new species came about fairly recently, the researchers said, probably sometime in the last 600,000 to 1 million years. Prior to this, the bat’s common ancestor from the South American mainland managed to island-hop across to St. Vincent when sea levels were much lower.

The marooning likely occurred during the Pleistocene, after melting glaciers caused rising sea levels that isolated the St. Vincent population.

Siles said the bat is mainly an insect eater that will roost in caves, trees and even logs on the forest floor.

However, the animal has an uncommon method for catching prey, she said.

“They can actually pick their insect prey off the surface of rocks and leaves,” Siles said. “Not all insectivores can do that, because most insectivores catch their prey on the fly. Their big ears, wide wings and membranes between the rear feet and tail allow them to maneuver better.”

To see the report, visit this site.

The link for this article is http://today.ttu.edu/2011/05/bat-researchers-discover-new-species-on-st-vincent-island/

Lemesi by Canon Jerris Valentine

 

Lemesi by Canon Jerris Valentine

One of the most popular Healing Rites of the Garifuna is the Lemesi. We must be careful here, as in many instances in our language, one word (spelled the same way and pronounced the same way can have two different meanings, for example, MABUIGA means welcome and it also means goodby) could mean different things in its own context. In one instance, Lemesi means the Sacrament of Holy Communion or Mass. The understanding here, is that an ordained priest is required to be present. Also, in many cases this Lemesi will take place in the church building.

For the Garifuna our Lemesi does not have to be conducted by an ordained person. this realization came to me very forcebly when I visited a village in Honduras, called Funda. I arrived by boat and I immediately heard singing, (abaimahani). After inquiring I was told that there was a Lemesi. So I asked what priest came. When they told me that there was no priest, it hit me. I recalled then that I had similar experiences when I lived in Seine Bight. The Garinagu do not have to have an ordained priest for our Lemesi. Yet, there are some ground rules that must be observed. There must be prayers offered. There must be eating - sharing of food, and there must be dancing.

It is very common to have a Lemesi at the aniversary of the dead. This is also the time when the MOURNING is removed. (Taguruhn Ludu). Traditionally, those removing the Mourning must bathe, preferably in the sea. (The sea is very important in the life of the Garifuna). This bathing is done along with another person or persons. Never alone. They come out of the water together and proceed to the principal dwelling  house. At the door way, the Mourning clothes are removed and stomped under foot. Only then will the person who was mourning may proceed inside of the house. The period of Mourning is now over.

Everybody then assembles for the prayer service. The prayers may take up to an hour or more. Although there may not be an ordained priest present, an anniversary Lemesi is always held in the church building. After the prayer Service all retire to the home where refreshments are served. Then the dancing begins. Traditionally, only the abeimahai and the arumahani are done in a Lemesi.

There are different types of Mourning. In the first Mourning, the mourner wears full black, all the time. This type is the strictest form of Mourning reserved for parents and spouses; men do not usually mourn. The second Mourning is any combination of black and white and is reserved for close relatives who is neither a parent or a spouse. The third Mourning is for uncles aunts, maybe grandparents and other distant relatives. Full white clothing can be worn or purple or any combination thereof. Children are not encouraged to mourn. Interestingly, parents were not allowed to mourn for their children.

The Anniversary Lemesi is a fitting Healing Rite. Hopefully time has taken care of the healing process and those who are left behind can now move on with their lives. However, there are other times when a Lemesi may  be required.

Au bun, amuru nu is the essence of Garifuna Spirituality. It is what defines our relationship with one another, with our ancestors, living or dead, and with the Great Spirit. When there is a rupture in these relationships there is need to repair the damage. It is usually the ancestors who will intervene -usually by causing illness  (they then demand a Lemesi). As soon as the Lemesi is arranged, healing starts to take place. It will be further enhanced when the family gathers for the prayer service, the sharing of the food and the dancing.

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Canon Jerris Valentine is a Garifuna elder, he resides in Dangriga, Belize.

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